“As they lead him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that might bear it after Jesus.”
Simon was compelled to carry the cross of a condemned man and was asked to walk through the streets of Jerusalem. If we just imagine the scenario how ridiculed Simon might have felt when he was walking behind Jesus , when everyone in the crowd would have spat on him, booed at him, moreover the weight of the cross pressing on him and the chants of people cursing him as if he did all the mistakes, it would have really embarrassed him. He could have asked why am I compelled to carry the cross isn’t there anyone in this crowd to be chosen ,why me??
To understand why, we need to look into the four gospels and few facts..
- “ And as they came out , they found a man of Cyrene , Simon by name : him they compelled to bear his cross” Matt 27:32
- “ And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian ,who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross”. Mark 15:21
- “As they lead him away , they laid hold upon one Simon , a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that might bear it after Jesus.”Luke 23:26
- And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull , which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha” John 19:1
We have to note three things he was a passerby, he was coming out of the city and he was compelled. Just like Simon we could have been ridiculed, embarrassed and that situation even made us to ask God why did you compel me to do your work or why I was chosen to be a Christian or why I have to go through all these problems for your sake, But we forgot one thing which we later realised like Simon that the chance no one got was given to us. We need to note that Jesus was heading into the city and Simon was going out of the city, both the men were travelling in opposite directions. God chose us to change our path though we were going in opposite direction. We like Simon might be thinking that we were compelled to carry His cross ,we even tend to think that we are carrying the burden for him or he wanted the work to be done for him so he used us as a puppet and we got embarrassed and had to go through trials being his followers but we need to notice one thing that He actually handpicked the one’s going in opposite direction.
All the three gospels mentions that Simon was compelled to carry the cross except John the gospel which depicts Jesus as the Son of God .If we notice it says that He carried His cross. There is no account of Simon carrying the cross , this gospel ultimately shows the love of Christ from the beginning like He became flesh for us. The verse in John needs to be read with Luke 23:26 which says that might bear it after Jesus. Now we know that it is actually the vice versa of the whole scenario, we as Simon were thinking that we sacrificed ourselves to carry the cross for Him ,to suffer with Him or for Him, to do His work, but actually when Simon walked few steps further along with Jesus he would have felt the smell of blood, sweat and the broken torn body of Jesus , that was when He would have realised that it was Jesus who was actually compelled to carry our cross out of love. (1 Cor 13:4- 8). Love bears all things H e carried our cross as mentioned in John gospel, but most of the time we just curse Him or disgrace Him or blame Him or at least murmur when troubles walk our way. But it was actually out of love He being the Lord of Lords carried our cross and took our place of shame and guilt. He made the path easier, though we were compelled to carry the cross we didn’t have to go through trials or crucifixion we just had to do one simple thing Follow JESUS as mentioned in Luke, for our names to be mentioned in the book , Simon had to go after Jesus which was an easy work though he didn’t deserve it .
Simon was from Cyrene. Cyrene is a small town in present day Libya which is located in Africa. Simon as mentioned in the gospels was a traveller from Africa who came to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. Now from all the people standing Simon who was about to go out of the city, who was just a traveller was compelled to carry the cross … Why?? Simon was from a gentile land, He was not interested to carry the cross. The whole story of Simon has an inter link to the lineage of Noah. Simon a person from Cyrene should have been a descendant of Ham as he is from Africa , He could have been a Jew who was black since he came to the Passover. We know that Ham was the cursed generation. (Gen 9:25).Though He Knew Jehovah he was from a cursed lineage. His blood was corrupt and it needed to be cleansed by the pure blood of the lamb. He being different in appearance from the others would have been cornered by the Roman soldiers(Japheth generation) to carry the cross . The cross was a sign of shame and humiliation a jew would never wish to carry it he would have resisted or even fought back but as scriptures says Ham will serve his brothers, they were treated as slaves. God chose Simon a gentile who was cursed to prove a point that He came to take away the curse of the one’s kept in bondage.
This story doesn’t end up here there is one final secret. The gospel of Luke 14:23 explains a parable about a great supper.” And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the Highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled
We were like the people in the highway, but He compelled us to come into the kingdom as His beloved bride though we didn’t deserve it, we didn’t even mind about it but He made us stand beside Him as His beloved bride . God chose us the gentiles who were slaves to sin to reign with Him. He just asked us to follow Him like Simon. Simon came for the Passover feast just as a traveller to see it, but now when He left Jerusalem He became a part of the true Passover, He the nobody was remembered and is now spoken in all the ceremonies as the man who helped Jesus, when He didn’t do anything rather than just following Him. When we the church just follow Him we will reign along with Him. After realising this truth Simon who murmured before couldn’t have been able to stop telling people about Christ. “He hath made Him to be sin for us , who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21
Christ became our Passover lamb. Death and curse was removed by Christ. Just as it is mentioned in the Genesis 22 “Abraham said , My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” Isaac was chosen and made to carry the wood laid by Abraham, but He was never made into a sacrifice, He was rescued by the lamb which was already prepared and predestined instead of Isaac (Gen22:13). Though it appeared like Simon carried the cross the Lamb without blemish was slain for us and all we need to do is to just follow .He after all chose us to be His bride and He was ready enough to give His life for His Love.
Now ultimately we know why Simon was handpicked of all the great mob present there. He chose us out of love to be His bride and He wants us to join hands with Him in carrying the cross. We have now become one body in Christ. We have been espoused to Him , once we know the truth of who carried the cross, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation,or distress or persecution, famine, peril, nakedness or sword… nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God Which is Christ our groom for whom we live.(Rom8:35-39)
NOW TELL ME “WHO CARRIED THE CROSS”??