As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
As Jesus is led to Golgotha, also known as the Place of the Skull, a man named Simon of Cyrene is told to carry his cross. This seemingly incidental detail carries profound significance. Simon's carrying the cross foreshadows the truth that Jesus' sacrificial act extends beyond his personal suffering. It highlights the invitation for all believers to participate in Christ's redemptive work by taking up their own crosses and following him. It is something that Jesus told us to do. He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
Taking up our crosses means willingly embracing the challenges, difficulties, and even persecution that may arise as a result of our commitment to following Jesus. It involves aligning our lives with Christ's mission and embodying his teachings in our thoughts, words, and actions. Just as Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, we are called to carry our own crosses, which can take various forms, such as selflessness, forgiveness, compassion, and standing up for righteousness and justice.
Participating in Christ's redemptive work means actively joining him in bringing the message of salvation, hope, and reconciliation to the world. It means sharing the good news of Jesus' love and sacrifice and living as ambassadors of his kingdom. Our lives become a living testimony of God's transformative power and the reality of his grace.
Taking up our crosses is not a call to embrace suffering for suffering's sake but rather a recognition that following Jesus may involve personal sacrifice and challenges. It is a response to the immeasurable love and grace we have received through Christ's sacrifice on the cross. As we embrace our crosses, we identify with the crucified Christ and become witnesses to the power of his resurrection.
Let us embrace our crosses today, knowing we are not alone. We are empowered and sustained by the Holy Spirit, who will give us the strength, guidance, and spiritual resources we need to fulfill God's purposes.
May the Spirit be with you.