Life can be heavy. Family, bills, children, work, church, money, illness and pain are some of the things that can make life heavy. Have you ever felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Sometimes it can be overwhelming. Have you wondered whether Jesus felt like it was too much and was willing to receive help? He did, and I invite you to prayerfully think about the time when an “extra” took center stage in the plan of salvation.
Lesson 1 Read Luke 23:26
There is something to be said about being in the right place at the right time. The Bible says that Simone of Cyrene was “coming in from the country.” Have you ever been minding your own business, and God decides to just drop a ministry opportunity in your lap? Maybe you have felt that tug on your heart to be exceptionally kind to someone you don’t even know. If so, let us know at Message on social media using the hashtag #messagemag.
We see people every day, but do we actually love these people? We can speculate that Simon had heard of Jesus. Maybe he witnessed one of the many miracles Jesus performed. What we do know is that this man was called to help someone with whom he didn’t necessarily have an intimate relationship, And he didn’t refuse.
We have altered and distorted our concept of love to require public exaltation. Jesus, however, did everything He could to make sure no one knew many of the great things He did. He constantly told those He healed to tell no one. Often when throngs of people would follow Him, He would find a way to make them want to leave. What Simon did here was the opposite. His good deed was out in the open. He was willing to bear a shameful symbol for a Man being shamed. Are you willing to love God and the people around you, even if it means you’ll be looked down upon? Pray about it. Journal about it.
Lesson 4 Read Matthew 27:32
Though Simon didn’t refuse the cross, he didn’t volunteer either. I don’t believe God takes away the gift of choice from anyone. It seems to me that there are people for whom God orchestrates unique circumstances for unforgettable experiences. Have you ever felt like God has cornered you? Has he put you in position in which you almost had no other option but to do the right thing? If so, share it with us here at Message using #messagemag on social media.
Lesson 5 Read Mark 15:21
I noticed that when the cross was given to Simon, he walked behind Jesus. This is after Jesus carried the cross on His own, and He had been beaten and bloodied. His pace would have been slow. Simon had to walk at the same pace as Jesus. I have a question for you: Do you ever feel like Jesus is moving too slowly while you have weight on your back? Have you ever felt like God wasn’t an “on-time God?” Be honest with us and share on social media using the #messagemag.
Lesson 6 Read Luke 23:26
I have a younger, bigger brother. He is a physique competitor. He recently placed second in a field of over 100 competitors to obtain his pro card from the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation. He is the real deal. I work out with him sometimes, and he always wants me to try an exercise I’ve never done. Or he wants me to try lifting weight that’s almost too much for me. Whenever he does, though, he always does it first. When I attempt it, he always stands behind me to make sure nothing goes wrong. Consider that Jesus carried the cross before Simon did. Tell us what comes to your mind on social media using the hashtag #messagemag.
Seeing my brother lift the weight before I do lets me know that he can spot whatever weight I attempt. Jesus bearing the cross shows us that there is no weight on us that He hasn’t carried already. Simon’s encounter with Jesus shows us that the best of us need someone to spot us. Pray to God to bring you into true friendship with people who will spot you when life gets heavy. Ask Him to provide people who’ll be willing to walk your journey with you—no matter what twists and turns it takes.
Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ozark, Alabama. He also pastors the Mt. Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dothan, Alabama.