Corporate worship helps us remember all we've been given in Christ. Over the last few months, many Christians have experienced an identity crisis because they have not consistently celebrated grace and the gospel.
Will you pause for a few minutes and reflect upon the gospel? Will you reorientate and recalibrate your life today to Jesus? As you read the following words, will you pray and thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus and ask Him to help you remember who you are in Christ?
Simon of Cyrene was picked at random, or so it would have seemed, by Roman soldiers and ordered to carry the cross of Jesus. Jesus was being paraded through the streets of Jerusalem as a public example—this is what happens when you cause trouble for Rome! He was made a public spectacle for people to see and mock.
The goal of crucifixion was to reveal to all how helpless one who rebelled against Roman authority actually was. Jesus was so weak, after a sleepless night of repeated beatings and blood loss, he couldn't carry his cross. So Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it for Jesus. Imagine being Simon, who was possibly in town for Passover. Hearing commotion, he pauses to watch the procession of criminals passing by. By random chance, he finds himself as a named participant in the great event of all time.
There is little doubt that this was a life-changing event for Simon. There would be no other reason to include his son's names other than an expectation that they would be quite familiar to Mark’s readers. He and his sons seem to have become believers due to this privileged incident.
Although you weren't literally covered by the actual blood of Jesus like Simon, if you are a believer you are covered by the blood of Jesus! Scripture says that in our natural, sinful state we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10). But, in Christ, we are welcomed into God's presence. Through repentance and acceptance of Jesus’ death on our behalf, we are even called His children (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26). God no longer sees our sins and imperfections; He sees the righteousness of His own Son instead (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 8:12). Because we are in Christ, God sees Christ’s righteousness covering us. Only "in Christ" is our sin debt canceled, our relationship with God restored, and our eternity secured (John 3:16-18; 20:31). We are covered by the blood of Jesus!
Just like Simon, your selection to carry your cross was not random. From God's perspective, your coming to Jesus wasn't as much a bold move on your part as a stunning victory on His part. He fashioned everything there is about you. He set you in a particular time and place. He carefully arranged people, situations, and events in your life, waving His arms in front of your face, pleading with you to look to the cross, to know the love that completely paid your sin debt!
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4). This is your identity! Jesus paid it all!
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
Remember who you are today! Declare His praises today!