STATION 7: “Jesus Takes Up His Cross”
As we continue our walk to the seventh Station of the cross….Jesus takes up HIS cross: It is important that we stand for what is right even if the consequences are tough for us. If we don’t, we lose something even more valuable–our integrity. When we face tough choices, we can take the easy way out or with God’s help we can speak out for what is right.
John 19:6 (TNIV)
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
John 19:15-17 (TNIV)
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
Pilate pronounced Jesus “not guilty” three times (John 18:38; John 19:4 and here in John 19:6). Pilate even tried to set Jesus free (John 19:12). Though Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty of anything, his power and security were threatened and rather than stand up for what was right he took the easy way out.
The brother of Jesus, James tells us in James 4:17, “So then, if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it, you sin.” When we know what is right and we do not act on it, we sin.
Again, Jesus, our Savior and King, walked willingly to the cross know what was to come….because of His great love for us.
STATION 8: “Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross”
We walk one day closer. Today is the eighth station of the cross: Here, Jesus is helped by Simon to carry His cross. To Simon, it was just a hunk of wood. To us it’s “The Cross”. It’s a symbol that is rich in meaning, a symbol that often brings with it many deep emotions, feelings and realizations. Today, the cross comes in many forms. The question is, are we ready to bear it?
Mark 15:21 (TNIV)
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (TNIV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So what does it mean to bear the cross of Jesus?
Matthew 16:24 (TNIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
To deny oneself means to surrender immediate material gratification in order to discover and secure one’s true self and God’s interests. It is a willingness to let go of selfish desires and earthly security. This attitude turns self-centeredness to God-centeredness.
As followers of Christ, we shoulder the cross when we suffer loss for Christ sake: we endure dreaded disease, when we lose a friend or when we lose a job. We carry the cross of Christ when we don’t have sex before marriage, and to some degree when we remain faithful in marriage. We carry the cross when we take the honest road rather than the easy dishonest road. We suffer the cross when wrestle with applying the moral and ethical truths of Jesus to our lives. Indeed, to do what is “right” often feels like we are carrying a cross.
It’s easier to stand on the side of the Via Delarosa and simply watch Jesus pass by with the weight of the cross on his shoulders. It’s easier to say, “wow, that’s a tough cross to bear”. Jesus endured the cross for us…are we willing to carry it for him?
The key is…..will we carry that cross for Jesus? Will we carry that cross courageously, humbly and with the great knowledge of the love of God in our hearts.