Take up Thy Cross
And he bearing his cross went forth. — John 19:17
At first there was no one to help Jesus to bear His cross; though fainting from loss of rest and from the gashing and laceration of His body by the scourge, and still more from the untold anguish through which He had been passing, He yet had to carry His cross for Himself until nature gave way. Yet we must remember that while Jesus had to bear the cross unaided, it really was not for Himself that He bore it, but for us. He endured the shame and pain, and staggered beneath the awful burden, that He might set us free from the burden of sin’s curse. The Baptist said, when Jesus passed by Him at the beginning of His ministry, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” We may say the same words as we see Jesus bearing His cross. That is what He is doing. It was not the mere wood that was so heavy; the real load which Jesus bore that day was the mountain of our sins. It was this that made Him faint and sink down by the way, and that wrung from Him such cries and tears in Gethsemane and on Calvary.
A little later He sank down under the burden, and then the officers compelled a passer-by to help Him. After that the scene was this — Jesus and Simon of Cyrene together carrying the cross, Jesus in advance carrying the heavy end, and Simon coming behind bearing the lighter end. Here again the picture is very suggestive in two ways: — We must share the cross with Christ before we can be saved; that is, we must accept our place with Him under the cross and follow Him. Then we can turn the picture another way, and we see Jesus helping His people to bear their crosses. Every cross we have to bear, His shoulder is also beneath it, and He always bears the heavy end of it. No believer ought to be unable to bear any cross with Jesus. No load that He shares should crush us.