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Simon the Helper


My father entered the Air Force to avoid being drafted. The draft was a system that enlisted individuals into serving the military, which in many instances was during times of war. Persons weren’t ever sure when or even if they would be drafted, but once the call came they were told to leave everything known in their life behind and report for duty.

The Romans had a draft system called conscription. All it took was the flat side of a Roman soldier’s spear to tap you on the shoulder and you were immediately “drafted” into the service of Rome. Simon was an onlooker. He was likely drafted to help Jesus carry the cross because he wasn’t Jewish. Likely a pagan (non-believer), Simon would have seen a great cost to carrying Jesus’ cross. I’ve often wondered about the same thing. Carrying the cross has its burdens. It divides families, changes identities, causes people to go in direction that maybe aren’t the ones sought in life. Carrying the cross is a burden. Jesus knew that firsthand, and the weight of the cross and the devastation of sin’s pain on his body made him buckle under the pressure. Then a man from the land of Cyrene was drafted to pick up Jesus’ cross and carry it.

Being a follower of Jesus means we are drafted into a different kind of life. It also means that life with Jesus isn’t rosy— it can be tough, and most of all, it’s painful. Friends, that pales in comparison to all that it cost Jesus when he bore our cross. We complain we have been drafted into the army of God and with that comes many inconveniences. Truth be known, Jesus wasn’t drafted when He carried your cross. He volunteered!

— Pastor Bob


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