"Then Jesus said to his disciples: 'If anyone wants to accompany me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.'"
On the way to Golgotha, Jesus - lashed, bloodied and exhausted - carried his own cross. Roman soldiers forced Jesus to move, the crowd screamed and cursed him, and finally Jesus collapsed (fell) under the extreme weight of the cross. And there was Simon, a strange Cyrenaeus. Perhaps Simon was in Jerusalem for the Passover. Perhaps he saw the crowd and moved closer to see what it was about. Regardless of the reason for his presence, this man from Cyrene was given one of the greatest privileges bestowed upon anyone in human history. He was chosen to carry the cross of Christ. Wouldn't you like to be able to go back in time and stand in Simon's place? Even if only for a few moments, it would be a privilege to be able to help alleviate the pain and suffering of Christ. In fact, we have this privilege today, for Jesus said to his disciples:
"If anyone wants to accompany me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25).
Jesus is still looking for women and men like Simon to pick up His cross and carry it. So when He says "carry up your cross" it means putting God's will above your own desires and longings. We need to be willing to die to our ambition, to our plans and choices we have made in life. Putting your shoulder to the cross means loving God more than anyone else or anything else. So, dedicate yourself to Christ. Be like Simon. Carry that cross and follow Christ. This is the best life there is to live.