Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday and we looked back on Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in Isaiah 53. There’s an interesting event that occurred on Jesus’ way to the cross that I’d like to briefly discuss…
Although Jesus was God, during the Incarnation He took on all the physical limitations we experience (aka The Kenosis): hunger, thirst, temptation, fatigue, etc. While carrying the cross Jesus’ physical limits were reached, and He could no longer continue without help: Matthew 27:32 They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. Simon stepped under the load and helped Jesus carry it. In a recent sermon I shared about the difficult time I was having trying to pastor WCC by myself, but this past week in a conversation regarding how much better I’m feeling, I told Katie, “Pastor Doug is Simon.” (NOTE: Doug is the Associate Pastor we recently hired at WCC and he’s become a great friend of mine, and Katie would say the same of his wife Jessica).
With that said, please let me quickly get something out of the way: I’m not trying to compare myself to Jesus or imply any load I’ve been under compares with the load Jesus was carrying. This isn’t meant to be a comparison between Jesus and me, but between an individual helping shoulder another’s load and how that makes me think of Pastor Doug.
When I’ve talked about pictures and types before, I’ve always said they fail in certain ways: the substance or reality is always greater. That’s the case in this example too, and I’d say it’s captured in the word compelled. Matthew 27:32 and Mark 15:21 state Simon was compelled to help Jesus; it wasn’t voluntary. With Pastor Doug though, I’m regularly told, “I’ll take care of this” or “Don’t worry about it.” When the phone rings Pastor Doug says, “I’ve got it.”
It’s hard not to notice God’s fingerprints on the timing of Pastor Doug’s arrival. We recently learned Katie is pregnant, which we consider to be a tremendous blessing, but at the same time Katie describes her pregnancies as“the most miserable times of my life.” She started getting sick and I’ve been able to help her because of the help Pastor Doug has been to me. Just knowing he’s in the office taking care of things gives me peace about directing more time and energy to my family.
And I’m not the only one who’s been blessed by Pastor Doug (or Jessica for that matter). I’ve seen, heard and read Pastor Doug’s communication with people and he’s compassionate and empathetic, but he’s also firm and honest. He and Jessica both show a tremendous love and concern for others. We’re all very, very blessed God has brought them here.