Teddy Roosevelt, US President:
“Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”
Jesus of Nazareth
spoke softly, and carried a cross.
1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Great analogy but 3 out of 4 Gospels say Simon of Cyrene carried Christ’s stake. The stake John speaks of is spiritual, not physical.
Hello, Fred, thanks for the comment. It is possible your explanation is correct, but I doubt it. It was the usual procedure for condemned men to carry their own cross, as we know from multiple sources. Most Bible commentators (and I would agree with them) believe that Jesus was not exempted from this and began by caring His cross, but that He was in a weakened state from the beating, and so could not carry it the entire way — thus, Simon was compelled to carry it for Him.
This also fits with the fact that Jesus spoke of carrying a cross beforehand to His disciples, and they knew the Roman practice.
One thing we know for certain is that all four accounts are completely true. As to how they fit together, you have made one suggestion, I have made another. There is no certain way to tell which is true, but I believe the evidence is much stronger for the suggestion I have made.
Yet, your point is sound that the greatest suffering of the cross was spiritual suffering rather than physical. He who was sinless bore our sin. He who was one with the Father was forsaken. We will never really know what that meant.
As far as the contrast I drew, Roosevelt’s foreign policy was based on quiet strength, as was Christ’s policy towards the world. But Roosevelt’s intent was to accomplish his purpose by instilling fear in those who would oppose (“big stick”), while Christ accomplished His purpose by demonstrating His love and calling us to love. That contrast is valid however one understands the carrying of the cross.
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