SIMON OF CYRENE

by Diana Marie Winkler on March 13, 2016

       “A man named Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming in from the fields, and they pressed him into service to carry the cross.” Mark 15:21                                                   

Was Simon coming in from the fields to observe the Jewish Passover, coming in from a long day’s work or while in the fields he observed a commotion in the distance and decided to check it out? Whatever the reason little did he know it would be a day that would change his life forever. If up until that day Simon may have felt he was just going through the motions of life by nightfall he would know his life had purpose.

Standing amongst the noisy crowd he gasps! He has seen similar scenes, criminals, made to carry their crosses to their crucifixion, but this man, this “criminal” was different. Simon had heard he had been wrongly accused.

The obvious horrendous torture of the scourging of his body was beyond comprehension. Simon finds himself unable to walk away, unable to avert his eyes. The crowd is yelling, some are even laughing and saying to the “criminal”,

“Hail, King of the Jews!” It is then that he notices the crown of thorns that’s been placed on the man’s head in mockery of his “royalty”.

Although blood was dripping down the man’s face Simon thinks that perhaps he has seen the man somewhere before. Wait! Did he hear someone say the man is known as Jesus? He has heard of him, he has spoken to some of his followers.

Suddenly, this man, Jesus, stumbles and falls. This time Simon turns his head to look away and it is then that he locks eyes with a Roman soldier. The soldier points to Simon and motions for him to step forward. He knows the law. He can’t refuse. He is being pressed into service. He steps out of the crowd, he leans over and with a loud grunt hoists the heavy cross on his shoulders. Looking at the weaken, bloodied and crumbled person on the ground Simon reaches down with one hand and helps him to his feet. Looking into his eyes he remembers overhearing the telling of one of Jesus’ teachings. He recalls some of the words, “There is no greater love than this;  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Together they continue the journey.

At the time it may have seemed Simon was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I say he was right where he was supposed to be. I want to believe that later he realized that the cross he helped carry was not so heavy after all. Did he and Jesus

walk in silence because of the din of the crowd or were words of comfort and even encouragement exchanged? If so, did Simon express them or Jesus? Was Simon chosen because of his physical appearance, he looked strong?

These questions make me ponder my Christian walk. Do I keep myself spiritually strong to be ready to be pressed into service for the Lord? When the secular world keeps trying to take Jesus away, do I not let myself get “lost” in the crowd, but step forward and walk confidently with the Lord? Do I remember the crosses I have had to carry felt as if the weight was lifted from my shoulders?

My walk is a work in progress with a few stops in between. On this journey I pray I will recognize the face of Jesus and put into practice the many teachings I have learned from Him.

 

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