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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Apr 2011, 11:19 am

Mixed Motives
Simon from Cyrene Carries Jesus' Cross
by Max Lucado

"A man named Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was
coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the
cross
for Jesus" (Mark 15:21)

Simon grumbles beneath his breath. His patience is as scarce as space on the
Jerusalem streets. He'd hoped for a peaceful Passover. The city is anything
but quiet. Simon prefers his open fields. And now, to top it off, the Roman
guards are clearing the path for some who-knows-which- dignitary who'll march
his soldiers and strut his stallion past the people.

"There he is!"

Simon's head and dozens of others turn. In an instant they know. This is no
dignitary.

"It's a crucifixion, " he hears someone whisper. Four soldiers. One criminal.
Four spears. One cross. The inside corner of the cross saddles the convict's
shoulders. Its base drags in the dirt. Its top teeters in the air. The
condemned man steadies the cross the best he can, but stumbles beneath its
weight.
He pushes himself to his feet and lurches forward before falling again.
Simon can't see the man's face, only a head wreathed with thorny branches.

The sour-faced centurion grows more agitated with each diminishing step. He
curses the criminal and the crowd.

"Hurry up!"

"Little hope of that," Simon says to himself.

The cross-bearer stops in front of Simon and heaves for air. Simon winces at
what he sees. The beam rubbing against an already raw back. Rivulets of
crimson
streaking the man's face. His mouth hangs open, both out of pain and out of
breath.

"His name is Jesus," someone speaks softly.

"Move on!" commands the executioner.

But Jesus can't. His body leans and feet try, but he can't move. The beam
begins to sway. Jesus tries to steady it, but can't. Like a just-cut tree,
the
cross begins to topple toward the crowd. Everyone steps back, except the
farmer. Simon instinctively extends his strong hands and catches the cross.

Jesus falls face-first in the dirt and stays there. Simon pushes the cross
back on its side. The centurion looks at the exhausted Christ and the bulky
bystander
and needs only an instant to make the decision. He presses the flat of his
spear on Simon's shoulders.

"You! Take the cross!"
Simon dares to object, "Sir, I don't even know the man!"

"I don't care. Take up the cross."

Simon growls, balances the timber against his shoulder, and steps out of the
crowd onto the street, out of anonymity into history, and becomes the first
in a line of millions who will take up the cross and follow Christ.

He did literally what God calls us to do figuratively: take up the cross and
follow Jesus. "If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about
yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me" (Luke. 9:23
CEV).

This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus

NEW Gift Book! This story from:
This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado
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