Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Grudge Bearer

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Samuel 7, 8, 9

I Samuel 8:7 (NIV)
7 And the Lord told him, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.

Matthew 27:32 (NIV)
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

Mark 15:21 (NIV)
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.

Luke 23:26 (NIV)
26 As they led Him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Good morning!

He was never good enough for them. Those miserable complainers wandering around the city couldn’t recognize a holy miracle even as He hung, bleeding and dying, right in front of their very eyes. Are we so busy grumbling and complaining, that we miss seeing the Savior of the world, pouring out His life’s blood for you and for me?

Simon of Cyrene was simply passing through Jerusalem that day. He didn’t recognize the condemned. He knew nothing of the crimes this man was accused of. Certainly he didn’t have any business picking up this man’s cross and carrying it up the hill to the place of the skull. “Why me,” Simon thought to himself as he drug the heavy cross through the dirt and up the hill. The weight of the beams left Simon’s back bruised and full of splinters. He had a strong and healthy body; yet, the weight of this cross almost seemed too much for anyone to bear. He glanced back at the face of the condemned one limping behind him. Simon was startled by the look of love radiating from his bloody and tear-streaked face. How could one suffering such a cruel punishment display such a look of love? Does this man not bear any animosity toward his killers? How could he ignore the cruel and hateful words pouring out of the mouths of the masses, gathering on the hillside to watch him die? It is not possible for any man to show a shred of compassion in his heart for the ones who inflicted such pain.

Simon found himself taking a detour to a place he did not want to go. He could not bear to leave this man alone. He stood, helpless and confused, watching the soldiers as they pounded stakes through the captive’s flesh. How could he willingly lay there on those beams? Why did this man have to die? Can his accusers not see He has committed no crime?

Simon watched as the cross was raised up over the city. He listened to the hateful words of the Roman guard. He watched the women weep near the foot of the cross. Suddenly, Simon felt ill. He could not stand there one more minute. Falling to his knees, he cried out in anguish and shame, “Why him?”

Jesus came for one purpose. He came to save all of the grudge bearers, back stabbers, ladder climbers, movers and shakers. The jealous and conceited, the haughty and proud; the sins of every man, woman and child - Jesus bore on the tree. He died for you and He died for me. The liars and the cheats, slave drivers and thieves; controlling, manipulative sin sick souls, He came to free. He was the lifeline for every drowning victim sinking in the sin of pride, flailing about in self-centeredness and spite. Jesus died for all of these. He died for you and He died for me.

Do you think we were worth the price He paid? Were you worth it? It was an uphill battle that day - the day our Lord wiped out the law of sin and death forever. He conquered Satan; He bridged the gap. Because He died, we are free to live with Him forever.

Jesus Christ became the ultimate grudge bearer when He took every sin to the cross that day. He can take your heart of stone and give you a heart full of compassion and love, if you will call on the name of Jesus today. He died to set you free, once and for all! There is no greater love than this. Won’t you give Him your hurts and hand Him your pain. Jesus is waiting. Will you come to Him today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: faith to see the miracle that is standing right in front of you today. Give your life back to the One who gives new life to you. Come to Jesus and live!
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