Lifting Up The Cross

March 29, 2013
by Lori Ciccanti

Luke 23:26 – As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. (NIV 2011)

Last year, during the Lenten season, our pastor played a song in church called Watch the Lamb by Ray Boltz. This song is a beautiful depiction of the scene portrayed in today's Scripture. Not much is known about Simon of Cyrene except that he is famously remembered for helping Jesus carry the cross on His way to Golgotha. We also know from Mark 15:21 that Simon was the father of two sons, Rufus and Alexander.

Tradition has it that Simon and his family became Christians; many church scholars believe that Simon's wife and son Rufus are mentioned in Romans 16:13. Although this cannot be proven, I would be surprised if Simon did not become a believer. How could the man who walked so closely behind Jesus, helped carry His cross, watched His execution, and gazed into His compassionate eyes, have possibly gone home that day unmoved, unaffected, or unchanged by our Saviour's great love and sacrifice?

One year after listening to the inspiring words of Watch the Lamb, three large wooden crosses were set up in front of our church sanctuary. This time, during the communion service, church members were encouraged to literally lift one of those crosses as a symbolic act of faith signifying our willingness to bear the cross of Christ. But how can we really apply this principle in our daily lives?

Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (NIV)

Jesus' disciples learned this truth when they followed His example, denying themselves for His sake, even when it meant their own suffering and death. Thus, Simon of Cyrene became an image of discipleship for all believers who are prepared to take up their cross and follow the Lord.

This experience also brought to mind the high place where the Saviour died for the sins of the world — not along a Roman road where many were executed in that day, but on a special hill called Golgotha or Calvary.

John 12:32 – But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. (NIV)

Therefore, the cross, when it is lifted up, brings glory to Christ.

At first, Simon may have been reluctant to do his part; yet, it was a small inconvenience compared to the blessings of salvation that he later received. Likewise, we, too, will be blessed if we walk closely behind Jesus, lifting up the cross for His sake. Rest assured, the heavier weight will be upon His shoulders.

Prayer: We thank You, dear God our Father, for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who endured the cross for our sakes in order that we might live the best of life through Him forever. May we, like Simon, lift up the cross for our Saviour, that we may also may be identified with Him in His glory. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>

Ocean View, Delaware, USA


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so Lori.


    Lori I can’t thank you enough for this devotional.


    Lori, How appropriate for this day. Thank you for this reminder of Simon and his role on Good Friday. Blessings.


    Lori, this is wonderful and thank you for sharing with us on this special day. May God continue to bless you my dear. May you have a Blessed and Happy Easter.


    Dear Lori: Amen!
    He has risen indeed!
    The suffering Christ endured for our Salvation is beyond our comprehension!


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for showing us the honor that Simon of Cyrene had that day as he followed Christ to Golgotha. May we see it is a privilege to suffer with Christ as we carry our crosses using His example to follow.


    Thank you Lori for a special insight to the story of Simon. Your devotional was both educational and uplifting.
    Very appropriate for today, Good Friday. We are having our reading of the Passion this morning.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for this Good Friday message for a deeper thought of the cross of Christ. Because of Jesus Christ we are free and live for ever.
    “In the cross of Christ I glory!” Rejoicing HE LIVES! Freeing me to live!
    Amen!


    Lori
    As I make my way to church this morning I am taking along your words “literally” as I shall take along the lap top for later as I visit my husband in hospital and yes it’s all about the cross.
    God Bless.


    Lori,
    Beautiful…touching, made my eyes well up. How lucky we are to have a FATHER who loves us. And HE sent HIS SON to counsel and interceded on each of our behalf.
    Again, thank you for the words you share today, in the past and those to come in the future.
    May FATHER continue to bless you & yours.
    (Texas)


    Lori
    Nice timing for your devotional. We have been reading the story about the walk leading to Calvary.
    Not much known about Simon but you explained a lot in your devotional.
    Keep writing, is is your gift and you must continue to share.

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