How Can We Stand Out in a Crowd for Jesus?
Sentenced prisoners had to convey their own crosses to the execution site. Jesus, subsequent to being debilitated from the beatings that he had gotten, was actually physically unable to convey His cross any further (Mark 15:21; Matthew 27:32; Luke 23:26).
There were provinces of Jews that existed external to Judea. Subsequently, a spectator named Simon made a Passover journey to Jerusalem from as far away as Cyrene in North Africa.
His children, Alexander and Rufus, are obviously referenced here since they turned out to be notable in the early church (Romans 16:23). Simon was compelled to continue carrying the cross to Calvary.
But who was Simon of Cyrene? What made him so special, or what caused him to “stand out in a crowd” that the Romans chose him?
Standing Out in a Crowd
Do we differentiate ourselves in such a sinful world? If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
To answer that last question, we will need to look back at. Zechariah 3:1-7. At the time when the Jewish remnant returned to Israel to rebuild the walls, Joshua was the High Priest (Haggai 1:1, 2:4).
Satan “resisted” (accused) Joshua, who depicts the country of Israel here. The allegations were exact; Joshua remained in “filthy garments” (sins). In any case, God uncovered his benevolence, expressing that he decided to go ahead and save the Jewish people anyway.
Satan is continuously blaming individuals for their wrongdoings before God (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-8). However, he incredibly misjudges the expansiveness of God’s benevolence and absolution toward the people who trust in him.
The accuser, Satan, will, at last, be annihilated (Revelation 12:10), while each and every individual who believes and accepts Christ as Savior will be saved (John 3:16). To be set, we should request that God take off our attire of transgression and clothe us with his righteousness.
So, we see that Joshua is appointed, and Satan stands to accuse him. With Joshua representing the nation of Israel, the allegations were precise; Joshua was standing in filthy rags, which represented sin. Joshua’s appearance/man’s appearance (Ezra 9:15; Isaiah 64:6).
God chastised Judah through the fire of extraordinary tribulations; however, he saved the people before they were totally obliterated, similar to a “brand plucked out of the fire.”
The vision that Zechariah has graphically depicts how we can receive God’s leniency. We cannot do anything for ourselves.
It is at God’s drive that our dirty articles of clothing (“filthy rags”) (sin) are taken off, and God furnishes us with new, clean garments (righteousness) (2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 19:8).
All that we require to do is to atone and request that God pardon us. When Satan attempts to cause us to feel grimy and shameful, we are to recollect that the perfect garments of the righteousness of Christ make us qualified to step toward God (Isaiah 43:25, Isaiah 61:10, Matthew 22:11-13; Luke 15:22; Revelation 7:14).
Joshua is made acceptable, and he is given a mitre (crown), and he was given a charge. Joshua is the Greek name for Jesus, which means “Jehovah saves.”
This Joshua should not be mistaken for Joshua, the warrior of the book of Joshua. Nonetheless, both the warrior Joshua and the High Priest Joshua have been viewed as images of Jesus the Messiah (Exodus 28:37-40; 1 Kings 3:14).
The priesthood was nonexistent during the exile, so it had to be restored upon returning to the Promised Land. In this vision, Joshua was introduced as the High Priest.
One of the High Priest’s obligations was to offer penance on the Day of Atonement to set things right for every one of the wrongdoings of individuals.
The priest was the go-between person (mediator) between God and the Israelites. In this way, he addressed the approaching Christ (Isaiah 11:1), who would alter the whole decree of God’s managing of the sins of the people (Hebrews 10:8-14).
All for Jesus, I Surrender
Jesus, the Messiah, was the High Priest who offered, unequivocally, the penance of himself to remove our transgressions. In his new requirement, each Christian is a priest who is to offer a blessed and purified life to God (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10).
Imagine, if you will, a courtroom. God is the judge. Satan is the prosecuting attorney, and he is telling the court everything that we have done wrong.
We are the accused. Jesus is the defense lawyer, and he has paid the price for our sins. Have you ever noticed that the prosecutor is on the left side of the judge, and the defense is on the right? (Acts 2:33; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3).
We were appointed when we accepted Christ as our Savior. Satan is always trying to accuse us. In sin, we had an old appearance, but in Christ, we have a new appearance.
We have been made acceptable to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. We have been given a crown of life, and we have also been given a charge to go and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Can anyone tell just by looking at us that we are Christians? Have we traded our old clothes for new clothes? Have we traded our old way of walking for a new way of walking? Have we traded our old way of talking for a new way of talking?
Do we use the same style of language? Do we use the same jokes? Do we go to the same places that we used to go to? Do we use or do the same whatever it was before we accepted Christ into our hearts? Do we still do any of that today?
Do we project Christ in our daily lives, everywhere that we go, and in everything that we do? Do we set the example of what a good Christian should do and what a good Christian should be? (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 John 1:9, 1 John 2:15-16).
What Does This Mean?
Standing out in a crowd for Christ means that we are continually praying for our journey as we pray for others. Standing out in a crowd for Christ means that we are representing Christ through our actions.
Are we helping others as we can without the desire for praise, and what can we gain from helping others? Standing out in a crowd for Christ means that we are continually reading and studying God’s Word.
Do we stop and think of how and what our actions can do in how we represent the love of God to a lost and dying world?
Again, I must ask, if you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Thanks to Calvary, I am not the man I used to be. Thanks to Calvary, things are different than before. While the tears ran down my face, I tried to tell them. Thanks to Calvary, I don’t come here anymore (Thanks to Calvary, by The Cathedral Quartet, 2005).
For further reading:
Why Was Jesus Pierced and Wounded for Our Transgressions?
What Does it Mean to Know Nothing Except Christ and Him Crucified?
What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, ‘Sell Your Cloak and Buy a Sword’?
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Martin Barraud
Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. He is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. You can check out his work here.