Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
- TITLE: The Cross of Love
By Carolyn Kenney
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“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” the crowd shouted angrily at Pilot. He had no choice but to release Barabbas to them. Jesus stood off to the side with bowed head, praying silently to His Father. He felt the soldiers grab Him by the elbows and lead Him away as the blood dripped from the crown of thorns on His sacred Head. His breathing became labored; the pain from the scouring caused unbearable torments throughout His body. The agony was tremendous, but He picked up the cross lying before Him on the ground and started to carry it to Calvary.
Suddenly Jesus could hear noise and pushing coming from the crowd around Him. He saw a tall, well-built man step forward. Jesus heard one of the guards yell at the man, “Pick up that cross! Now!”
The man’s friends said to him, “Simon don’t get involved. You barely know this man.” However, when Simon looked at Jesus, he felt tremendous love and pity for Him. He could see the indescribable pain Jesus felt. He could also see the blood dripping all over His flesh. As their eyes met, Simon saw love radiate from Jesus’ eyes such as he had never seen before and felt something stir deep within him. He felt a connection with this man and knew that he had to help.
Simon reached down and picked up the cross. He thought to himself, What wood was used to make this cross? It is unbelievably heavy! Simon straightened up and with a tremendous sigh, heaved the cross onto his shoulder. Jesus said to him, “Thank you, Simon. You will have a special place in My heart.” Simon had heard about this teacher from Nazareth. People followed Him wherever He traveled. Simon heard of cures performed by Jesus that were miraculous.
Jesus turned and walked towards the hill where His crucifixion would take place; Simon walked behind Him. Three times Simon witnessed Jesus fall and each time he thought this pure and gentle man would never get up. Simon wondered, “Where does He get His energy? Why does He keep going? Why doesn’t He give up right here?”
As they walked the dirty, dusty road, Simon would never forget the moment when Jesus met His mother, Mary. Simon looked at Mary’s eyes and could see the pain that was piercing her heart. He wanted to put his arms around her and take some of it away. However, the look that passed between Jesus and Mary was full of love and understanding, and Simon knew there was a bond between the two that could not be described. Mary wiped away some of the blood from Jesus’ cheek before gently giving Him a kiss on His forehead. He looked at her with tenderness and slowly moved on.
When they reached the top of Calvary, Simon laid the cross on the ground and sadly looked at Jesus. It was all Simon could do to stop the tears from flowing down his cheeks. “Thank you, Simon,” Jesus said. “Remember, I will be with you always. Whenever you need Me, I will be walking before you. One day, I will lead you to My Father’s kingdom.” Then Jesus turned towards the guards. Simon drifted to the back of the crowd that had gathered around the cross. His grief was almost unbearable as he watched the cruelty with which the guards threw Jesus down onto the cross. The cries of the women around him tore at his heart. He fell to his knees, buried his head into his hands, and prayed. Jesus had done nothing wrong. Why were they crucifying Him?
We all face hardships and difficulties; at times, the trials we endure become too much for us to deal with. Like Simon, we must help one another carry our crosses. We must look upon one another with love, understanding and acceptance. Jesus is walking before us and tells us, “I am here and will sustain you in this great pilgrimage of life! I love you.” Let us love one another.
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