by Pastor Greg Laurie
Shoulder Your Cross
"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me." - Matthew 16:24
On the road to Golgotha, Jesus - beaten, bloodied, and exhausted - carried His cross. The Roman soldiers forced Him to move on, the mob screamed and cursed Him, and then finally, Jesus collapsed under the extreme weight of the cross. And there was Simon, a stranger from Cyrene. Perhaps Simon was in Jerusalem for the Passover. Maybe he saw the mob and walked over to see what the commotion was about. Regardless of the reason for his presence, this man from Cyrene was given one of the greatest privileges afforded to anyone in human history. He was selected to carry the cross of Christ.
Don't you wish you could go back in time and stand in Simon's shoes? Even if it was for a few moments, what a privilege it would be to help alleviate Christ's pain and suffering. In all reality, we have that privilege today. Jesus said,
"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." (Matthew 16:24-25)
Jesus is still looking for women and men like Simon to pick up the cross and carry it. So when Jesus says, "shoulder your cross," He means to put God's will above your own. We need to be willing to die to our ambition, to our plans, to our choices that we have made in life. To shoulder your cross means to love God more than anyone or anything else. So dedicate yourself to Christ. Be like Simon and shoulder that cross and follow Christ. It is the greatest life there is to live.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.