Unlimited: Simon of Cyrene
Jun 2, 2021 1412
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross (Mark 15:21, NIV).
Jesus was led through the streets of Jerusalem to the place of execution. After having been savagely beaten, he staggered under the weight of the cross.
In this passage, we meet one of the really interesting characters in the gospel of Mark. His name is a common one, yet his role in history is anything but common.
Condemned criminals were commonly made to carry their own cross, or at least it’s heavy crosspiece. The vertical beam was probably fixed permanently at the place of execution.
The wooden cross-piece which the condemned criminals carried probably weighed around 45 kilos. They were probably tied across the shoulders of the condemned as they were marched to their death.
Having been severely beaten many times since the late hours of the previous evening, is it any wonder that Jesus staggered and fell under the weight of the cross? At this rate, the execution squad would never even get to the place of execution!
That’s why they forced a bystander to pick up the cross of Jesus and carry it for him.
It was the last thing this man, a pilgrim from north Africa, had ever expected when he made his travel plans to visit Jerusalem for the Passover.
What an unexpected privilege Simon had that day! He probably didn’t think of it like that at the time, because right then it must have seemed the most shameful and horrific experience in his life.
But we know that later he became a follower of Jesus. Sharing in the sufferings of Jesus transformed him, and he came to count that day as the greatest day of his life.
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: Are you willing to carry the cross? Are you willing to suffer with Jesus? Or are you in it just for the blessings? How will sharing in the sufferings of Christ affect your life and the lives of those around you. Read Colossians 1:24.