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  • # 227 Compassion Prevails

    The cross made for Barabbas is laid on Jesus' bleeding shoulders. He tries to carry it and falls.

    All night he's been under stress, no sleep, nothing to eat or drink, walking from place to place, subjected to horrible abuse. The garden experience alone would have killed him; but strengthened by an angel, he went on to face mocking, hitting, spitting, beatings that cut, people even tearing out his beard! Physically, he is spent.

    After another attempt to carry the cross he falls, and the soldiers, realizing he can't carry it, look for someone to conscript. Only the worst criminals carry their crosses, and the male bystanders scatter.

    Simon from Cyrene watches amazed; he has come into the city this Friday morning. He isn't a follower of Jesus, but his two sons are, and he can't believe his eyes. Overheard expressing compassion, he is immediately enlisted.

    Ever after Simon is grateful to providence for getting him there just then, allowing him to carry Jesus' cross. He carried it with gratitude in his heart the rest of his life.

    Even now compassion prevails, Jesus speaks to some crying women who don't know him. "Don't weep for me, daughters of Jerusalem; weep for yourselves. If they'll do this when things are good, what will they do when they're bad?" He's thinking ahead to the destruction of their city.

    Jesus' mother, supported by John, follows him; her heart breaking. She recalls his words about his death...Oh God, must I give up belief that he is Messiah? What about his birth?

    Matthew 27:32-33, Mark 15:20-22, Luke 23:25-31, John 19:16-18

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