Yesterday morning we examined an interesting passage of Scripture in Matthew 27:22-35. It is here that we find our Lord carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem on his way to Calvary. But in verse 32 we are told that "they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross". There is a question that must be asked ... Why did they compell Simon? Certainly his disciples were watching from the crowd. Why didn't one of them spring from the crowd to bear the cross for their Lord?
There are 2 reasons the disciples remained hidden in the crowd that day; SHAME & FEAR.
Just the evening before Christ had told them, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night" and they were all quick to deny it. Yet, on the streets of Jerusalem there lay a cross that none of them were willing to bear! Sadly, many of God's children have responded to Christ in this fashion. We must never come to the place where we are ashamed to be identified with our Lord! How many Christians are too ashamed to tell others that they are believers?
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" Romans 1:16 (KJV)
Fear is the other reason the disciples remained hidden in the crowd. They did not want to suffer the same things they saw Christ suffering. But if we are all afraid to do something, NOTHING will be accomplished! From the outside looking in, most of us will boldly state that we would've picked up the cross if we were there that day. But is there a cross you should be carrying that is still on the ground?
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matt 16:24
"And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27
Disciples that are "Missing in Action" are disciples that accomplish nothing. We must be disciples who are found faithful, following, and fruitful!