Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
TITLE: Simon of Cyrene
By Gary Sims
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We heard the crowd coming - you could hear they were angry about something. The yelling and jeering could be clearly heard above the normal street sounds. We took a back street to avoid the throng because we were trying to make our way to the temple.
When I decided to make the journey to Jerusalem to bring a load of fabrics for sale it seemed to be a good idea to bring the boys with me. Alexander is sixteen and will soon take over part of the business. He needs to know how to work in foreign cities. Rufus is only twelve but I couldn't leave him home. After all, who knew if we'd ever get another chance to visit the Temple during Passover. This was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity.
So we took a side street to avoid any trouble. It couldn't have been the worse street to take. It wound around, twisting and turning, until, suddenly, there I stood right in the thick of things. Without warning the crowd opened up before me and He was there. I didn't know who He was. I assumed He was a criminal of some kind.
He was a bloody mess and the tree He was trying to carry was big enough to give three men a problem. They kept whipping and shouting. "Get up," they said. "Save yourself!"
I may have said something. I'm not sure. I know I didn't want to get involved but He looked so defenseless... I don't know what He did but no one deserves to be treated like that. He needed help. I was afraid they were going to kill Him right there on the street if He didn't get up. So I probably spoke up. It was a stupid thing to do. I had the boys with me and I should have kept my mouth shut.
The minute the soldier turned to me and ordered me to pick up the cross I realized my mistake. There was nothing I could do. If I resisted I probably would have been whipped and beaten as well. I gave a quick glance to Alexander. He understood me and immediately backed up and got away from the crowd. I knew he would take Rufus to camp and wait.
So I picked up the tree and carried it for the doomed man. The sooner I could get this task done the sooner I'd get back to the boys. I prayed that there wouldn't be any further trouble.
As we walked up Skull Mountain I studied the man they called Jesus. I heard some of the crowd call Him the Messiah. Even though He had been whipped within an inch of His life and with all the people spitting and calling Him names you'd think He would either give up or keep fighting. He did neither. He simply and quietly walked up the mountain. There was not a single sign of fear or hate in His eyes. The more I studied Him the more I realized that all I could see in His face was love.
Love! That's right. Love!
I didn't understand and I still don't. But I do know one thing. My life was changed forever by that look in His eyes. I'm glad I made that wrong turn and I'm going to spend the rest of my life teaching my boys about the love I experienced on that day on a mountain of death.
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