Monday, October 27, 2014

The Recognition, part 7: taking up

And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23 NASB)

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. (John 19:17 NASB)

When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26 NASB)

We turn again today to the very important concept of taking and bearing our cross. What Jesus said was that we had to "take up" our cross. He did not say we had to bear it all alone. On the night when our Lord was betrayed and arrested, He was beaten without mercy, bruised and battered for our sake. He was bearing His cross. Taking up that cross, however, began in the Garden of Gethsemane with His prayer of surrender, "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." When Jesus embraced the will of the Father and the cross that lay ahead, He was taking up His cross. Standing before Pilate and Herod, He was bearing His cross for us, as His destiny was to become the sacrifice for sin in our place. 

After a night of horrors, the soldiers lead Him out toward Golgotha. When they headed out, Jesus was not just taking up His cross but literally carrying His cross. The hours of beatings had taken a physical toll and the soldiers, who had also been up all night, likely wanted no further delay. Jesus, wounded and bleeding, might make the journey, but they could see it would take a while. Looking around, they spotted Simon of Cyrene in the crowd and "seized him" to carry the cross for Jesus. Simon's job was not to redefine the destiny nor to reroute the journey. He did not have to find God's will, nor like God's will. His job was simply to carry the cross. 

This is important, and I don't want us to miss it. Simon bore the burden for Jesus, and Jesus allowed it. Even in the worst time of His life, Jesus was demonstrating the importance of bearing one another's burdens. Jesus was not obeying the will of His Father any less by accepting Simon's help. In fact, Simon's assistance allowed Him to obey completely. 

If our Lord accepted assistance in carrying His burden, should we not also do the same? If the body of Christ is to function as Christ intended, we must be open to assisting those who are struggling as they work to do God's will. Just as important, however, we must be open to accepting the assistance of those God has "seized" to help us. Are you struggling in your journey of obedience? Is what God has called you to do far too difficult for you? When God sends help, if God sends help, consider accepting it. When Jesus struggled to carry the load, Simon was sent to help. Our Lord willingly accepted that help and we can do no less. 

Are you overwhelmed by the burden God has given? Sometimes He helps in supernatural ways, but sometimes He sends help "with skin on". Let God give you the help you need, no matter what way He chooses.