In Mark 15, we read the heart-wrenching account of the Savior’s death. Verses 20-22 tell of the trip to Golgotha:
20 And when they had him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
After enduring more than any other man could ever withstand, Jesus stumbled through the streets of Jerusalem under the weight of His own cross.
He was weak, He was tired — yet He bore it all with dignity and majesty until the Roman soldiers became impatient with His slow, stumbling progress. They pulled a man from the crowd and told him to carry the cross of Jesus. This was the custom of the times. The Romans could demand that a Jew carry their load. The scriptures do not tell us whether the man Simon offered any protest. We simply know he took up the cross and followed. If he was a disciple of Jesus Christ, what must this have meant to him? On the one hand, he was offering a humble service to his Lord; on the other, it was a service that would end with Christ’s death. It must have been a difficult burden to bear. How would you have felt knowing that you were easing the Savior’s burden only to be a facilitator to His death in the end? It must have been very hard indeed.
Today, our tasks as disciples of Jesus Christ are no less difficult. One of the first covenants we make with Heavenly Father comes at the time of our baptism. We bear witness that we desire to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but more importantly, we covenant that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. We renew this promise every week during the sacrament as we humbly pray we will be able to always remember Him.
We are being asked to carry His name, just as Simon was once asked to carry His cross. Do we bear this honor with dignity? As we walk forward through the streets of our daily lives, can those around us recognize whose name we carry with us? As Christ’s disciples, do we focus our actions, our words, our thoughts, and our appearance in such a manner that those around us can see the goodness and beauty of Jesus Christ through us?
It means expressing gracious kindness in the face of offense. It means helping a neighbor. It means taking time with a child. It means being His disciple even when it’s hard and the outcome seems dreary. In return, He offers us peace and eternal life and an assurance that on the days when it seems we can’t carry on, He will be there to help us with the load. Even in the process of carrying His cross for Him, the Savior offers tremendous blessings.
28 unto me, all ye that and are heavy laden, and I will give you .
29 Take my upon you, and of me; for I am and in : and ye shall find unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is , and my burden is light.
I may not have carried His cross in Jerusalem and I may not wear a symbol of that cross around my neck, but I carry His name every day in my heart for everyone to see. I, like many of you, am willing to carry His name as far as He needs me to. He will bless and guide our efforts as we covenant to bear His name.
This post was originally published in November 2007. Minor changes have been made.