Tuesday, March 2, 2021
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
This pericope from Matthew 11 is probably not the passage that one would expect to find underneath a picture of Simon carrying Jesus’ cross. After all, what about taking up the cross of our savior seems easy? What about the hard wood of the cross seems light?
If you watch a passion play or see someone reenact the events of Jesus’ trip to Golgotha the events play out with immense gravity and weightiness. Jesus, often bloodied and battered, carrying his cross, even handing it over to Simon, is plodding and unsteady. The stations of the cross even remark how he fell.
But then there is Simon. Simon takes the weight of the cross from Jesus. And friends, I can’t imagine the cross felt light. I can’t imagine that the wood was any softer. So, what is easy? What is light?
Perhaps. Just perhaps, Simon knew under whose cross he now walked. Perhaps. Just perhaps, Simon who became weary and was literally carrying a heavy burden learned in that moment the extent of who this Jesus was and is. Perhaps. Just perhaps, Simon travelled all the way with Jesus to the hilltop, saw the curtain rip, heard Jesus cry out to God, felt the earthquake, and went to bed that night, resting in the foreknowledge that he just had an encounter with divinity.
May we too, in our cross-bearing moments, during the times of heaviness in our lives, may we rest in the knowledge of Jesus, and the rest and gentleness Jesus promises for our souls.
Peace in Christ,
Pr. Dan Joyner Miller