Google+ 03/29/13 Asleep or Awake?!

Matthew 27:32-34


Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene,

And the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.

And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).

The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. 


Today is what the Christian world refers to as Good Friday.  It is the day that our Lord is crucified.  There has been much written about this day outside of the Bible.  There have been movies that Hollywood has produced that range from somewhat accurate to virtually inaccurate.  Even non-Christians usually stop today and pause for just a moment to acknowledge this day.  What should we Christians do?  We should embrace Simon of Cyrene and what he did for Jesus.  Granted, he was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus.  We are given a choice by God.  Remember Scripture when Jesus says that if we want to be like Him, we must take up His cross and follow Him?  According to our Scripture today, Simon was from North Africa.  What was he doing on the road to Golgotha, the "place of the skull?"  We don't know, because the Bible doesn't say.  If he was on vacation, Simon got much more that his travel agent planned for him!  Even though he was forced to carry the cross for Jesus, he did it!  He literally took up Jesus's cross.  Are we willing?  Today will be filled with church services, prayer vigils, and mourning over the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ, prior to the celebration of His resurrection on Sunday.  While these are all appropriate, I am not sure that these should be our focus today.  We all know that Jesus dies a brutal, humiliating, extremely painful death that He does not deserve.  We know that Jesus died for our sins so that we might have everlasting life.  What most of us don't seem to embrace is whether we are willing to take up His cross, permanently, and follow Him.  This means all the time, not just when it is convenient or glorifying to us.  It means that we can't just be Palm Sunday or Easter people.  The celebration part of Jesus is easy.  Watching Him perform miracles in our lives and rejoicing in them is amazing.  The problem is, that these are always the result of hours of prayer and obedience in times of trials.  We, as Christians, have never done well with trials and being faithful.  Remember what Jesus asked the disciples to do while He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane?  Jesus asked them to stay awake.  It was all they had to do.  Just one hour is all He asked.  What did they do?  They all became self-serving and fell asleep.  When Judas showed up with the soldiers to betray Him, Peter, who had been sleeping during the most important part, jumps up waving his sword proclaiming that he will defend Jesus.  We are just like the disciples.  We are quick with the sword, but sleeping when Jesus needs us most.  Following God and His Son Jesus Christ, is not easy and it certainly should not be self-serving.  It wasn't for Simon of Cyrene and it won't be for us.  So, the challenge today is very simple for all of us.  Let's put our swords away and stay awake with our Lord for one hour, when He needs us most.  As Jesus proclaimed in the Garden of Gethsemane, the flesh is weak.  Let's stand with Jesus during the trials and tribulations so that we have the right to celebrate with Him during all our "Easters!"  Where will you be when Jesus needs you most?  Asleep or Awake?!!!