Footsteps of Jesus 05

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The Cross is Laid on Simon of Cyrene

Mark 15:21

As Told By Simon  

The noise was deafening, angry voices, sobbing voices, screaming ones. What had I struck? The followed the noise till I could see what was happening. I watched as the soldiers shoved the crowds back, saw the woman touch the face of the prisoner trying to rise, saw them push her back into the crowd. In the crowd there were mixed reactions, some angry and gleeful to see him suffer, but others who turned there faces away, as if to see him was to shame them.

I was propelled forward, almost as if I was being pushed, though no human hand touched me. I realized that I had come to the front of the crowd, it was almost as if the crowd had opened up to let me in. The soldiers raised their hands to push me away, but then the looked at the prisoner, and back at me, and the two next to me grabbed me so that I wouldn’t get away. “You, you can carry his cross!” I was big, Cyrene produces big men, strong me, labouring men. I was big, black and strong—and they wanted me to carry his cross.

I wanted to shout out ‘No, I won’t do it!’, but two things compelled me; the soldiers held me firm, but then I looked at the man on the ground. He looked at me with compassion and understanding. What had he done to deserve this, I wondered?

I had heard him teach, I had seen him from time to time in discussion and argument, even once with compassion, as he stopped the stoning of a woman caught in adultery. He spoke of God’s love and acceptance.

So, I bent and lifted the cross on my back, and he reached his bleeding hand and closed his fingers on my arm in gratitude. I remembered being in the crowd when Jesus spoke of the final judgment and he concluded –“I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” This was not a brother or sister in need, this was Christ Himself!

My life was changed that day, and I knew that I was propelled to that place at that time by the hand of God. Whenever I give food or drink to those I see around me who are hungry or thirsty, whenever I invite a stranger home for a meal and a bed, whenever I give clothes to those in desperate need or visit those who are imprisoned, I remember the privilege I had to first of all show God’s love to Jesus on the road to Golgotha, and I thank God for his mercy & grace.

 

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