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And he bearing the cross (John 19:17)
That Jesus was to be crucified appeared in typological form in the Old Testament. In Genesis 22:6, we read, “And Abraham took the wood and burnt offering and laid it upon his son; and he took the fire in his hand and they went both of the together. “As a man carries his cross upon his shoulders.” Justin Martyr in his writings tells us how the manner of the roasting the paschal lamb did represent the fixing of a man upon the cross and thereby was a type of cross. “Here is the wood.” (1)
The Jews were sceptical about Jesus, they should have known the types and shadows in the scriptures, yet they questioned him about his identity and deity, “you make yourself God?” (John 10:33) Are you greater than Abraham, who died? (John 8;53) We are Abrahams seed, Abraham is our Father, they said. Imagine this, your children saying about another, he is our Father! Imagine the cutting of the heart, the very denial of the fact that you their Father, you about to give your life through a cruel act done by others and they have no care for your soul, how horrible, “He came to his own and his own received him not,” unwanted rejected told to go on home, you are not part of our family. Thats what the Jews said to him, “Our Father is dead” they said. Imagine your sons telling you that! hurtful, arrogant, callous. Jesus felt the hurt, I believe he did any Father would. Jesus replied, “If God were your Father you would love me” (42). Jesus had seen Abraham and appeared to him and here as a Son no doubt would have recalled that day in which Abraham had obeyed his Father. Jesus knew! he had said to them “when you see the son of man lifted up then shall you know I am he” (v28).
They could not see the wood. The cross had to be lifted up. There is no salvation without the lifting up of the cross. Behold the wood, Isaac had cried, And Pilate took Jesus and scourged him … The soldiers smote him… and he, carrying his cross.. (John 19:1,3,17). The Jews understood not God’s promise through Abraham of the cross bearing redeemer (Gen 22:7).
There is no sanctification without bearing the old rugged cross, There is no message without preaching that old rugged cross, there is no deliverance that is not found in that old cross.
In Matthew 27:32 we read “and as they were were going out they found a man of Cyrene a certain passerby and laid the cross upon him, and he followed Jesus..” (Mark 15:21).. Accidentally caught up in the procession of the cross bearer, the sin bearer. Simon, one minute walking to the city the next moment carrying the cross of Jesus. One second at the gate, changes his life, unexpectedly he is summoned to a duty, he is totally unaware and unfamiliar with, a stranger out of town stranger a passer by.
We read of Simon that he was a Jew a resident of North Africa, tradition tells us that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus and that they were part of the community of those known as people of the way. A Rufus is mentioned in Paul’s salutation in Romans 16:13 as being the “elect of the Lord” eminent and his mother is commended as being a mother to Paul and Rufus. (see 2 John:13) So we see a whole family had come into the faith.
If Simon had made a detour in his journey, if he had been a minute late, if he had not passed by at that moment he would not be known today. He may have wandered forever, looking for the right event and the right place and time. Friend you may not have planned your life, you may be walking aimlessly throughout your day, on a journey with no particular place to go, its like that for many folks, but I want to declare today that you are about to stumble into something, that something is a man called Jesus, You’ll meet him at the place where he carries something that is yours. O it looks like wood, a cross, yes he carried my cross so that I could carry his.
A cross-less life is an unsanctified life, a cross-less life is a pointless life, a hopeless life a life unaddicted to anything but meaninglessness. To wander is to live without divine purpose, maybe today YOU are a Simon, you will meet the Christ who carries what is yours. did he not say “Take up your cross and follow me” I believe you’re going to step into something unexpected today, a divine encounter with deity that will change your life forever. One moment you are walking down-town the next moment you are on your knees before the Lord of creation, One moment you are taking a walk the next moment you are following him who is the way, One moment you are carrying a load, a big load of problems and crew the next moment you’re following the God man carrying his cross a servant who has been delivered from a meaningless existence and now following him. He knows where you will come into the picture. Even a detour by you can turn into an encounter with him. Life is a journey but when you meet Jesus your journey becomes your life. Like Simon, that one moment with Jesus will transform you from wanderer to cross bearer, in a moment, an unexpected moment.
It’s my prayer that today, you will encounter the divine on the road to Calvary.
He carried my cross so that I could carry his…
The Lord’s blessings be upon you today.
1. John Pearson, An exposition the creed (1847). Page 305