2011-04-20 - Simon of Cyrene
As Jesus was led away from the Pratorium, or palace, to Golgotha to be crucified, he was subjected to attacks both physical and verbal. The task of carrying the 30-to-40 pound cross proved difficult. Along came Simon of Cyrene, on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. The Roman soldiers forced Simon to pick up Jesus' cross and carry it to Golgotha.
We do not know much about Simon of Cyrene. Mark tells us that Simon was from the important city of Cyrene, and he was on his way in from the country. He was probably headed for Jerusalem, for the Passover celebration. Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Evidently these two men were important to Mark; however, the only other mention of either is a Rufus in a brief item in Romans 16:13.
Simon was called to pick up Jesus' cross and follow Him to the place of crucifixion. In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus addressed his disciples about carrying crosses. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."
What Jesus said to the disciples and what Simon of Cyrene did is still important to us today. Jesus said that to bear one's cross is to be willing to suffer and die for the Lord's sake. Are we willing, today, to step out like Simon and bear the cross? What is Christ calling us to do today, to carry His cross for His Kingdom?