Here is Part Five of our devotion series
Matthew27:32,Mark 15:21, Luke23:26-27
Simon of Cyrene
The Bible is Gods word given by God to man for man. To believe that the first dot or word or thought is not from the inspiration of God gives cause to doubt validity of any of it. When something is told of more than once, I give that special credence. It is as if God really wanted us to know about this situation or person. That is where we begin today. The story of Simon the Cyrenian is mentioned only once but in three separate gospels. Each depiction has a different slant, but the one thing that all three are completely clear on is that Simon, father of Alexander and Rufus was one of the last people in this world to bear a burden personally for our Savior. Scripture says in Matthew 27:32 that they found him and compelled him to bear Jesus cross. In Mark 15:21, scripture says that he was passing by with his children Alexander and Rufus, and they compelled him to carry Jesus cross to Golgotha. But in Luke 23:26, Dr. Luke uses the most definitive wording of Simon’s compelling. Scripture says that they laid hold upon him as he was coming out of the country and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it for Jesus.
So Simon the Cyrenian was walking through town with his two boys and he walks by this procession of people who were going to be crucified. The Roman soldiers compel him, and by compel I mean they grab him and force him to carry the cross of this person. Obviously by Luke’s account, there was not any discussion or options for Simon. He was there and the opportunity for service was there. He just didn’t know that he was going to be required to do it. In hindsight, the opportunity to carry the cross of Jesus is the most awesome of opportunities. But why would the Roman’s commandeer a man to do a job that according to Roman law was the prisoners and the prisoners alone? Most likely it was because Jesus physical body was not able to endure what it had gone through. Don’t get me wrong, this was still Jesus. Even in Luke’s writing’s Jesus was still preaching and teaching and comforting those who were following him. But after the horrendous beating he had just been given, the flesh should have been done. Or was it? Again as we discussed with Rahab, there is nothing that surprises Jesus nor anything that he is not in control of. He knew what he had to endure. He knew what he was going to face. What if Jesus was not too weak to carry his cross? What if Jesus was giving someone a chance to serve that didn’t even know they wanted to. How much more up close and personal can you get to Jesus and his earthly reason for being than to carry the instrument of Jesus earthly demise. There had to be blood on the cross. But not only that, Simon was able to be close to the savior of the world. I do not want to deal in any speculations that could prove to be detrimental, but being made to take up Jesus cross had to be the most monumental moment in Simon’s life. Though it only lasted a small moment in time, I will forever believe that it changed his life. Do I know how his life was changed for sure? No, I do not. What I do know is that if just touching the hem of Jesus garment was powerful enough to heal a woman with a blood disease that had lasted twelve years, then what could be the affects of having his blood come into contact with you? I can’t help but believe that Simon had a more intimate encounter with Jesus than anyone else up until that point. He was the first person that wasn’t a soldier, to have a drop of Jesus blood cover him.
When we are servants, sometimes we don’t know where that service is going to come from. We don’t even know who that service is going to be too. The only thing we have to be willing to do is fulfill that service to the best of our abilities. When we do that, we will be blessed. Simon did not know he was going to serve the greatest of all servants that day. I’m not even sure there was an option to his service. I am sure though that bearing the cross of Jesus was the greatest thing Simon could ever do. I also believe that the Roman’s didn’t pick Simon out for this opportunity. I believe Jesus did.