Falling In


In 1294, the Dominican Ricoldo da Monte Croce wrote, "There is a transversal road leading to the city, where Simeon the Cyrenian, coming from the countryside, was obliged to carry the cross." As we stopped at the Franciscan Chapel of the Fifth Station, I stuck my head into the small and shadowy room for a quick look-see.


What I found was not a chapel of serenity and comfort, but a place of obscurity and contemplation...a place where a man or woman would stop and think, "What would be it be like to carry the cross of Jesus?"


But isn't this the question we should already have an answer to? Jesus said, "Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:38, 39)  Part of being a disciple-or follower-of Christ means not only hearing these words, but also obeying these words. 


Carrying a cross is not comfortable. It requires great humility. It requires putting your agendas aside and taking up those of the Master. It requires declaring the Messiahship of Jesus to the bloody end, should it be necessary.


In his book, Be Loyal, Warren W. Wiersbe writes:  To "carry the cross" does not mean to wear a pin on our lapel or put a sticker on our automobile. It means to confess Christ daily and obey Him in spite of shame and suffering. It means to die to self daily. If the Lord went to a cross for us, the least we can do is to carry a cross for Him.


The additional awesomeness of Simon of Cyrene's story is that he wasn't looking for this role in history, but obviously Jesus was looking for him. Jesus knew this Jewish man from North Africa would be right where he was, going about doing his usual religious requirements, without a single thought of what lay ahead.  But just going about religious rituals does not mean we have "taken up the cross." Only "taking up the cross" means "taking up the cross."


Also, if the Rufus mentioned in Romans is the same son of Simon mentioned in Mark, then parents take note: what your children see you do will greatly affect their walk with God later in life. They will learn about taking up the cross by watching you as you carry yours.


Finally, could it be that Simon of Cyrene became one of those who ministered in Acts 11? If so, I can think of no better place to begin a ministry, than to pick up the cross of Christ, and follow Him to Calvary.


And this is part of what I learned when I fell into the Bible.


Photo by Eva Marie Everson. Eva Marie Everson is the author of Shadow of Dreams & Summon the Shadows and an award-winning national speaker.  She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at Bridegroomsbride@aol.com