What Jesus Did! 'Who Will Carry His Cross?' — Matthew 27:32-34

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Along the way [to crucify Jesus, the soldiers] came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means "Place of the Skull"). The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.
— Matthew 27:32-34 NLT

Key Thought

Forced to carry his cross! Simon was forced to carry Jesus' cross. But what about us? Are we forced to carry Jesus' cross? Is it something we have to do? No. It's something we should want to do. Didn't Jesus say, "If any of you wants to be my follower, ... take up your cross daily, and follow me."*

I don't know about you, but I don't feel forced to carry Jesus' cross. It is an honor to carry it. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to be his disciple. Yes, sometimes it is hard to carry his cross when those around me don't believe in him and belittle my faith. Yes, sometimes it would be easier if I didn't hear his call in my heart. But when I think of all that he went through for me, when I think that it was on the cross that he suffered for my sins, when I realize that he felt the blows from the rod and the sting of the thorns and the indignity of his mocking so that my sin and my shame could be banished, then it is an honor to be identified with his cross.

So whether it's dying with Christ in baptism, or it's a conscious commitment to dying to my flesh each day, or it's putting to death the misdeeds in my body, I gladly take up his cross and follow him.

* See the first Related Scripture Reading.

Today's Prayer

O Father, I feel compelled to carry Jesus' cross, but it is not because someone makes me. Father, for all that you have done, for all that Jesus paid, I thank you. And each day, I will pick up the cross and seek in word, thought, and deed to honor Jesus as my Lord. In the name of my Savior, I offer my thanks and praise. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 9:21-27
  • Acts 5:40-41


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Illustration of Matthew 27:32-34 NLT — "Place of the Skull"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.