Summary: Are you carrying the right cross?
Sermon No. 10
CARRY HIS CROSS
By: Atty. Numeriano P. Galgo, Jr.
April 14, 2019
Tagum City, Philippines
B. Overview of the message
The message this morning is about carrying the cross of Jesus Christ. He carried our cross of sins. Can we carry his cross which is a symbol of his life, love, ministry, sufferings and the salvation of mankind? By carrying his cross, we proclaim him to those who are perishing so that they too will be saved. Are we willing to do it voluntarily?
Our main verse is found in Luke 23:26 which says:
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.
Part II. Discussion
A. Simon’s journey
Luke 23:26 portrays the journeys of two individuals — Simon of Cyrene and Jesus of Nazareth. Simon is from Cyrene, an ancient city located in the north-eastern part of Libya, Africa. Simon is mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as the man who carried the cross of Jesus to the location of His death. He had come to Jerusalem to worship during the Passover. Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Cyrene is about 783 miles or 1,260 kilometers away from Jerusalem. Simon was on a pilgrimage. If he walked, it took him about a month, more or less, to reach Jerusalem.
After a long travel, Simon must have been very excited to celebrate the Passover. Passover lasts for at least seven days. He had great plans for these seven days, especially the first day — a Friday. He had imagined probably the food that he would eat, the bottles of wine he would drink, the dances he would participate in, the music he would listen to, the shows and sights he would see, the stories he would hear and the people he would meet. He must have felt lucky and proud to be able to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem at last. This was Simon’s greatest moment — the party of his lifetime. The best Friday ever!
We can relate to Simon’s journey. Everyday, we are occupied with plans, ambitions, family matters, activities, work, chores, obligations, problems, needs, wants, how we look and, of course, parties. We have experienced also the joy and excitement of traveling to new places. When we are on a vacation, we want to see the beautiful sights, taste new food, take plenty of pictures and have a good time. Facebook here, Instagram there. We don’t want troubles or the pressures of life. We want to just rest and relax. We satisfy ourselves. On Friday nights, we party and go out with friends. When we succeed, we feel lucky and proud.
B. Jesus’ journey
If Simon’s journey was filled with excitement, Jesus’ journey was a total opposite — very terrible and painful. We know what happened. He was betrayed by Judas; arrested by the guards; disowned by the disciples; mocked by the soldiers; tried and convicted for a crime he did not commit; he was tortured and flogged; he was called names; he was crowned with thorns; he was hit time and again; and then he was made to carry the cross on which he would be crucified to death. His journey was filled with blood and agony. Unimaginable pain!
Simon’s journey was a personal achievement — an item in his bucket list. Jesus’s journey was for the forgiveness of our sins. Isaiah 53:5 says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
C. Meeting at the crossroad
These two individuals on different journeys met at a critical point while Jesus, in his human nature, could not carry the cross any farther. Jesus was already tired and weak. But he was still far from the place of crucifixion. Who would carry it for him?
Just in time, Simon of Cyrene was there. He was there to celebrate the Passover. But he was looking at Jesus, the reason for the Passover beaten and wounded. What should Simon do? Just look; just remain a plain passer-by?
Then the unexpected happened. Simon was seized by the Roman soldiers and was made to carry the cross behind Jesus.
Part III. Lessons
A. First, there are two crosses that we can choose from. Our cross and that of Jesus. We are meant to carry only one cross. What cross will we choose? Our worldly cross of problems, needs, dreams, and plans for the future or the cross of Jesus that brings hope, life, blessings, peace, and salvation? Simon denied himself of his personal gratifications and carried the cross of Jesus. We thought that we can carry two crosses. No, because they cannot exist harmoniously together. That is why we are so burdened in this life. We are carrying two crosses on our shoulders! We could hardly manage to carry one, how much more if we carry two crosses that oppose each other.