Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, November 28, 2014
Based Upon Matthew 27
Jesus lovingly chose to be our substitute.
The blasphemous beating and ridicule of Jesus was well underway with no end in view. Many prideful Romans and Jews mocked and scorned Jesus without regard for His kinship to the God of heaven. There was no respect for His role as Creator and certainly none for the imminent role as Redeemer. With implicit trust in His Father, Jesus faithfully endured all that was hurled at Him.
As He fell over and over again beneath the weight of the cross while dragging it to the place of the skull, He received no sympathy from His torturers. If they wanted the cross to make it to the place of execution, they must compel someone to take over the load. They saw a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, near the path Jesus traveled. Suddenly they chose him bear the burden. Simon temporarily relieved Jesus of His load, and dragged it up the hill.
The imagery here is amazing. “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23. In order to be Jesus’ disciple, we must take up our cross and faithfully follow Him. Why was Jesus here in the first place? He came to show us a holy example, and to go to the cross to die the second death in our stead. His purpose was to lay down His life, and through our faith in Him, we might live eternally. The cross Jesus bore was really meant for us, but He lovingly chose to be our substitute. The image of Simon carrying the cross is a clear illustration of how it should have been. We sinned, therefore, we should die; we should have borne the cross.
The blessing in this story is that we do not have to die. Jesus took the burden of the cross all of the way to Calvary and died our death. This means that His gift of being our substitute in death is payment for our salvation. Jesus died our death that we might live eternally as though we had never sinned.
Thank the Lord for the gift of His precious Son Jesus Christ!