Wintonbury Lent Devotional | Week 4

by Kate Tortland

by Kate Tortland

Singled Out
By Lori Schofer

Simon Carries Jesus’ Cross
Mark 15:21 (NIV)

When was the last time you were forced to do something? Better yet, when was the last time you were forced to physically suffer for someone you didn’t even know?

This happened to Simon. He was returning from a trip when he saw the angry crowds of people shouting in the streets. It was like a parade was going on and people were yelling at someone. Simon wanted to see who it was. What he didn’t know was that it was a parade of humiliation for Jesus. More than likely, he didn’t know about the torture Jesus had endured the night before.

Simon’s curiosity got the best of him, so he wiggled his way through the crowd to get to the front. Just as he did so, a Roman soldier ordered Simon to be the one to carry the cross. Simon was forced into this situation. Carrying out this task would cost Simon. He would be considered unclean and thus unfit to eat the Passover meal after he touched the cross.

I wonder if the first thing Simon thought of was the cost to him or if he was taken aback by the physical disfiguration of Jesus and just in shock. I wonder if Simon was embarrassed for being singled out and at the same time couldn’t help but wonder about the degree of humiliation Jesus must have been feeling.

I wonder if Simon changed as a person with each step he took. If he was a different man at the end of that walk. God was sovereign in this humiliating task that Simon was forced into. God knew Simon needed to carry this cross.

The cross is the big thing here. Don’t miss it; it is symbolic. It represents a burden, something that was necessary for Simon to go through to become the man God wanted him to be.

We all have crosses. Life happens to us and we’re forced to carry something for awhile.  We get singled out. We feel humiliated. We feel trapped. We want to give up. We pay a price.

We, like Simon, go through a process as we carry these crosses. We learn something about ourselves and our almighty God. We learn deep dependance upon Him. We grow closer to Him. We’re able to empathize with others who carry similar crosses.

Remember who Simon was focusing on as he was carrying the cross - Jesus. We need our focus to be on Him too. What we focus on determines the length and difficulty of our journey. He is with us on this journey. We are not alone. The journey is the process He has planned for us. There is an end and He will lead us there. Focus on Jesus not the cross. He is right in front of you.

Questions for Reflection
What are you thinking about as you're carrying your cross?
Should you change your focus?