Simon did something for Jesus because he had little choice. He cannot have realised, as he stepped forward to take the cross on his own shoulders, just how much his life would change.
In a way, I envied him. His only choice was to obey or to be punished. It seemed to me that my choices were more complicated. A few months ago I did not even realise I had a choice to make; but now I did, and it was the choice to reject Jesus or to accept him. I delayed again and again. How did I choose? And what would be the consequences of my choice – for myself and for my family and friends?
Benjamin had made his choice. As much as I respected him and even came to love him as I read his letters to me, thinking how much effort and love the sick man had put into writing them, I still felt as if the crossroads were ahead for me. I was not yet ready to choose.
Sighing, I turned to Benjamin’s letter.
As I read Simon’s story I again felt the shock of what human beings can do to one another. Have I been able to forgive? I am not sure yet. But I love and honour my father for the action he took to save his family. Simon too, took action and his family was blessed by it, just as we have been blessed by my father’s courage and great love for his wife and sons. That courage and love was passed on to us, his boys, and we have stood firm in our faith; but now I am not so sure we got it right. I think – no – I believe Messiah has already come – and I pray that the courage and love I have always had in my life may continue to stand me in good stead as I speak to my brother and his wife and their sons about Yeshua, Messiah.
Pray for them for me, Ben. I do not know how they will take the change in me. Rufus’ older brother rejected it. May my brother and his family accept what I must share with them …
Christian. What a courageous man he must have been to have taken on that name as the early church began to grow and persecution of Christians became more extensive. I found myself wondering what his name was as he grew up.
He sounds like a young man to me, and I must say my heart warmed to him as I read about his faithfulness to one with whom he was not well acquainted. He was faithful to the end.
Ben, it is unlikely that you or I will be asked to give up our life for our faith, but I pray that our faith may stand firm whatever circumstances and opposition we may have to face. Although I know there is only one outcome for my illness, my increasing faith in Jesus is giving me the courage to face the end with grace. The stronger the adversity, the greater the faith it seems to me. I know I can face what lies ahead for I have great peace in my heart.
Do not mourn for me, Ben, as you read these letters, for I am at home with my Lord.