But in order to conduct my business, I had to go through that crowd to get to where I needed to go. I waited awhile, thinking the crowd would disperse, but it only grew.
Suddenly, I saw a break in the crowd, and I seized the opportunity to get through and move on. As I began to cross through the crowd, I saw this man who appeared to have been brutally beaten. He was bleeding so much that it seemed as if I there was more blood than flesh. He was carrying a cross...barely. I recognized this Roman punishment for crucifixion. The criminal was to carry his own cross to his death as a symbol of conformity to the law, which he had broken.
It caused me to stop. I watched for a moment. The poor man kept falling from the weight of the cross; he was clearly unable to continue to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where he would be crucified.
I couldn't watch any more. This punishment was brutal. I was just about to continue on, when I heard a loud and demanding voice call to me. "You there!" I turned and saw a Roman soldier looking and pointing at me.
"Yes...YOU! What's your name?"
"Simon, of Cyrene," I replied. What did this soldier want with me? I did nothing wrong.
"Well...Simon, of Cyrene," he said with a sarcastic tone in his voice, "Carry his cross."
Now, I'm not a strong man; I prefer to work with numbers rather than lumber. But I had heard this man...Jesus they called him. I had listened to his teachings and I believed what he said. I also believed that he was being unjustly punished. I'm not sure what his crime was, but the Jesus I'd heard was gentle and kind; certainly not deserving of this savage treatment.
I gladly took his cross.
He was tired and his body was battered. My heart went out to him...yet...I felt something in mine; as if, even in his battered state, his heart went out to me. It wasn't merely a sentiment of thanks for my carrying his cross. It was something deeper-a connection that cannot be explained.
It was as if he knew me.
I kept my pace with his; he could barely walk. He fell several times. I wanted to help him up, but that soldier kept his eye on me to make sure I did only what I was told to do-carry his cross. The weight on my shoulders was great, but the weight on his had to be much greater.
I would gladly carry his cross.
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