Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wood. You.

(Published today in E-thoughts...)

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac…Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, … ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb…’” -- Gen. 22:6-8 (NIV)

“And they compelled one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” -- Mark 15:21 (KJV)

Jesus always does the hard part. It might not seem that way in our human moments of trial or suffering, but it is a reality crystal clear when we view our lives through His.

Simon could not have known when he woke up that day that his life would in mid-morning change forever. He was, after all, just passing through. By divine circumstance, his path crossed the path of the beaten and bleeding Savior.

A scared and timid step forward, a shove, and Simon was in an unwanted spotlight, “compelled” by a soldier’s whip and order into a moment that would capture his life in God’s Word for eternity.

But it would also capture his heart.

Few people run toward the cross. Most of us have to be compelled by the soldier of misfortune, suffering, disease and any of a thousand pains and problems. And even then, we pick it up kicking and screaming.

But I hope we can be like Simon. Surely after looking into Jesus’ eyes that day, after seeing up close Christ’s shredded back, his crown of thorns, surely Simon knew that, in comparison, the yoke was easy. Jesus always does the hard part.

How could Simon look at that and not be changed forever?

In the days and weeks after, as news of the Resurrection spread, I imagine Simon’s horror of that day turning into an overwhelming feeling of honor. I imagine him on his knees and, through tears, gazing toward Heaven, arms extended, awed, overcome. I imagine his arms around his sons, his grateful whisper in their ears: “I walked with that Man…”

Have I stood on the Via Dolorosa on a day when the Lamb was passing by? Have I heard bloodthirsty calls from the crowd and seen a virgin’s son, an innocent man, bearing a cross toward the most important, galvanizing, meaningful moment in history? Have my eyes met his on that Way of Grief? Does my back yet feel the wood? Do I cherish the Old Rugged Cross?

-- teddy