Life Notes—March 18, 2010
“After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene…” Mark 15: 20-21a
Jesus has been tried and convicted by the Temple leadership, tried and convicted by the Roman governor, tried and convicted by the crowd. The Roman guards are taunting and humiliating him in the courtyard of the governor’s palace. He has been beaten, scourged, spat upon, mocked and crowned with thorns. Finally, he is led to Golgotha, the place of a skull, to be crucified. I suspect Jesus’ suffering, at this point, had to be beyond imagination. He had been up all night and was drowning in a dizzying, agonizing, ocean of intense pain and shocked confusion. No doubt, the pain intensified with each breath, with each minute, with each step. And it was about it get worse. He was being led out across a valley and up a hill to be nailed to a cross and hung out in the hot sun to suffocate over a period of several grueling hours. Surely death would have seemed a welcome relief.
Other gospel accounts relate that Jesus began the journey by carrying his own cross, but the guards eventually recruited a passer-by to carry it, possibly in hopes of speeding the trek up the hill to get the messy crucifixion business over with. Perhaps the guards tired of watching this broken shell of a man struggle hopelessly with the object of his impending death. Perhaps it was a show of compassion. Either way, Simon of Cyrene, carried the cross at least part of the way for Jesus. It was one painful task he didn’t have to do alone, and maybe the removing of that task brought some small measure of relief.
As we pass through our days we are often confronted with those who are suffering. Sometimes we are compelled to help, sometimes we willingly offer assistance, sometimes we simply continue on. Sometimes, when we continue on, we realize there is nothing we can do to fix the situation so we do nothing. But often we are not called to fix the situation; we are just called to offer a little temporary relief—like Simon of Cyrene…
This will be the fifth Sunday of Lent. Tom’s sermon title is “Sacrificial Love,” drawn from the scripture found in Mark 15:15-24. Life (Living in Faith Everyday) worship is at 10:45 in Brady Hall. Traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00. Contemporary worship at the west campus at 9:30.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Journey with us to the cross of Christ.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator