OCTOBER 24

 

And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon … and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus—Luke 23: 26.

 

We have often wondered, Where were Peter and John and James that they did not see the Master's burden and run to proffer assistance? If disposed to envy Simon his privilege of assisting the Master in the bearing of the cross, let us reflect that many of the Lord's brethren are daily bearing symbolic crosses, and that it is our privilege to assist them, and that the Lord agrees to reckon any service done to His faithful followers as though it were rendered to His own person. … As the wooden cross was not our Lord's heaviest burden, so, too, His followers have crosses which the world sees not, but which the "brethren" should understand. "Bear ye one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ".

 

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Because of His weakened condition, the cross taxed Jesus' strength beyond endurance; and God then provided the needed help, even though Simon was an unwilling helper. The text implies that Jesus bore the cross where the beams met; thus He bore its heavier part. Surely Jesus bore a heavier cross than ours. As we bear ours, we find that Jesus bears its heavier part. He considers our frame; He knows our weakness; therefore He goes before us, carrying the heavier part of our burden; and thus by His grace He enables us to persevere unto the end in spite of all obstacles.

 

Parallel passages: Gen. 49: 24, 25; 50: 20; 1Sam. 2: 6-9; Ezra 6: 22; Neh. 6: 16;  Esth. 7: 10; Psa. 17: 13; 76: 10; Prov. 16: 7; 21: 1.

 

Questions: Has this week brought me ameliorating providences? What were they?

What were the results?

 

THE HIDDEN CROSS

 

THE multitude saw but the cross of olive-wood

The Man of Sorrows bore, nor knew how

underneath,

Close-pressed upon His heart, a hidden cross He

wore,—

A dark and bleeding weight of sin and human woe,

Made heavier with the sentence of God's broken law,

And crowned with thorns of scornful and malicious

hate,—

A cross the world's Redeemer found on Jordan's

brink,

Nor laid it down until He came to Calvary.

 

Ofttimes it seemed He almost craved some human

aid,

Some sympathizing heart to share that cruel cross.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, hadst thou but known

What time that cross bore heaviest on the yearning

heart

Of Him, thy King!—And yet, O, slow of faith and hard—

Of heart, "Ye would not,"—and the King passed on—

His way;

And of the people, there was none with Him, He

trod

Alone the winepress of this dark world's shame and

woe!

 

O, chosen three, had ye but watched with Him "one

hour,"

That awful night in dark Gethsemane, ye might

Have lightened some the cruel weight of that dread

cross,

Have known and shared with Him that agonizing

woe,—

Alas! Alas! Your eyes were heavy, and ye slept.

So now, "sleep on and take your rest," ye weary one,

A holy angel's wing hath eased the hidden cross,—

Your Master, strengthened, waits that other cross to

bear!

 

Which cross bore heavier on the way to Calvary,—

The cross the cruel Roman soldiers laid upon

That Blessed One? Ah! no, it was the unseen cross

That crushed Him to the earth, that wrung from those

pale lips

The agonizing cry, "My God, My God, oh, why

Hast Thou forsaken Me?" The temple's veil was

rent;

The sun grew dark. 'Tis finished, and the price is

paid,—

The hidden cross had pierced that loving, tender

heart!

 

"Take up thy cross and follow Me," the Master

said.

Ah, yes, His faithful Bride must also bear a cross,—

The hidden cross, made not of life's vicissitudes

Alone, its ills and pain, its loss and poverty,—

The outward signs the multitude behold;

 

Ah! no, we follow in His steps, who went before

Us in the narrow way. We, too, must bear the woe,

Be touched with feeling of the world's infirmity,—

Its weary weight of sin and curse of broken law.

Let us, therefore, go forth to Him, "without the

gate,"

Lay down our lives in sacrifice, spend and be spent,

And, while we clasp this cross more closely to our

breast,

Press on toward Calvary, for there our Bridegroom

waits

To take the cross of woe, and give the Crown of Joy!

 

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