Devotional Thoughts: Simon of Cyrene
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
As I have been sharing these devotional thoughts, there are times I feel compelled to share some of my personal feelings and ideas about the passage. However, there are parts of Scripture where I simply just copy and paste it for you to read. This is one of those passages where you read it and picture it in your head. I feel breathless knowing, he suffered for our sin, for my sin.
Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled him to bear His cross.
image source: http://www.uga.edu/cc/stations/station5.jpg
Cyrene was a city in North Africa in modern day Libya. It is believed that he eventually became a Christian as did his sons Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). This is only an inference but a reasonable one because the Apostles would have only come to know the name of Simon and his sons if they became followers of Jesus and part of the faith community. If Simon had simply disappeared into the crowds, it is doubtful the Apostles would have ever have found out his name.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'" Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
When the mob came to arrest Jesus, he could have called down the angels to rescue him. When Satan said jump off the Temple and let the angels catch you, Jesus could have done so. Once again, Jesus could have easily said, enough already, I'm going to leave this Cross and strike all of you dead. I don't think we as human beings and I include myself fully understand how sinful we are and we are deserving of judgement. Nonetheless, Jesus did this for us. He endured the Cross for me.
One final thought before we are done for this post, in reading about Simon of Cyrene, came across this prayer:
Heavenly Father, whose most dear Son, as He walked the way of The Cross, accepted the service of Simon of Cyrene to carry his physical burden for him: grant us each the grace gladly to bear one another's burdens, for the love of him who said, "As you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.