Coping With Grief and Loss

In almost all cases, our daily trials and tribulations pale in comparison to what Jesus suffered. Furthermore, they are our problems, not someone else's. Jesus, on the other hand, took on everybody else's burden. So great was the physical strain, He could not do it alone. He needed the help of Simon of Cyrene.
“He that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me.” (Luke 14: 25-33)

After being scourged, Jesus was forced to carry a cross beam weighing roughly 100 pounds for over 600 yards. He fell three times under the heavy load, yet He kept going until He reached Golgotha where they crucified Him. It was a brutal, agonizing, degrading form of torture.

Fortunately for us, there is no counterpart to crucifixion in contemporary society. So, we cannot literally take up our cross and follow after Jesus as some of His earlier followers were forced to do.

Many interpret this Bible passage metaphorically and assume that it means we are to offer up all the trials and tribulations of our daily lives in reparation for our sins. That is a useful way to look at it, but it ‘s possible that interpretation doesn’t go far enough.

In almost all cases, our daily trials and tribulations pale in comparison to what Jesus suffered. Furthermore, they are our problems, not someone else's. Jesus, on the other hand, took on everybody else's burden. So great was the physical strain, He could not do it alone. He needed the help of Simon of Cyrene.

This leads to a different interpretation of the example that Jesus gave when He took up the cross for us:

  • The cross is a symbol of our mission in life, a sign that we are to help one another shoulder life's burdens.
  • The cross beam (what the Romans called the partibulum) reminds us that we are to stretch out our arms and embrace one another.
  • The upright beam (or stipes) directs our attention heavenward to our ultimate reward for serving others.

Those of us who have been spared the scourge of sickness and injury and the degradation of poverty and hunger are truly blessed. But we cannot remain indifferent to the suffering of others. We cannot remain on the sidelines like the crowds that watched Jesus make His way along the Via Della Rosa.

Sociologists call this reaction to the suffering of others "bystander apathy." Everybody assumes that someone else will step in and help. In Jesus' case, the Romans had to force Simon of Cyrene to help Him carry our burden.

In order to be a worthy disciple, we must be willing to take the initiative, be ready to step in and help others bear their cross in life.
blog comments powered by Disqus