The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record one liners about a man who finds himself in the wrong place at the right time: An appointment with the Son of God. It was the wrong place because the crowd is raucous and a soldier grabs the first person he sees and forces this man of the country, a farmer, into conscripted service. The service of the Lamb of God, who is barely alive and has no more strength to carry His own cross uphill to Golgatha’s height above the city. This man is forced to carry the cross of Christ. This man I am sure did everything he could to refuse for we are told he is a farmer from a far away country who has journeyed to Jerusalem to bring his sons to participate in what is likely their first Passover. This man’s name is Simon. Another “pebble” in a sea of faces. He is a foreigner from Cyrene, a settlement in what is today known as Libya in Africa. The journey has been long. As this father has traveled, he, I am certain, used the hours of walking to instruct his sons, Alexander and Rufus, in the traditions of the Jews. This was all new for these young boys because in Cyrene there is only a small population of Jews. (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26)
I wonder what this man saw in Jesus as he looked into His battered, bruised, and bleeding face? A man coming to sacrifice a lamb, is carrying the Lamb of God’s instrument of death.
I wonder what these two small boys thought as a Roman soldier grabbed their dad and compelled him to bear the cross of this “criminal?”
I wonder how the gospel writers got all this information when they were not even present! They were nowhere to be seen! The ones who should have been readily available to serve the Savior had run to save their own skin. I am not judging these men, for if I put myself in this environment, I too, would run for cover.
Do you ever just sit and ponder all the writers don’t say? Where did this Simon the Cyrenian go after he was done carrying the cross? He is covered in the blood of Jesus. A living picture of Christ finished work on the cross. He must find his children. He still has a lamb to purchase for sacrifice or does he realize what he has just done? I have so many questions.
Was Simon still in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost when Peter began to preach and in multiple tongues so he could understand the significance of all he has seen, heard, and experienced. (Acts 2:8-11) Did Simon follow the Lord in baptism and receive the Holy Spirit? Did he return to Cyrene and share the gospel or did he dispute with Stephen in the synagogue? (Acts 6:9, 11:20) One thing is certain, the trip home was very different from the journey to Jerusalem.
I find it interesting that John the beloved disciple who was at the cross is the only gospel writer who does not mention Simon the Cyrenian. The other gospel writers give us so few words, so much information: Names, dates, what happened. Makes me wonder how my/your story of an encounter with the living Jesus would be written! We each have one. At some point in our life, we will come face to face with the living Lord, entreating us (Matthew 11:28-30) to “take up a cross and follow Him.” Our immediate response will be vital to the outcome of our record in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Matthew 16:24-26, Luke 9:23)
A father with two sons. A savior with two thieves. So much of this points to choices we face each day. Choices to serve the Lord or serve other gods. Joshua made a stand as he entered the Promised Land: “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Jesus is dying and still demonstrating His lessons. He is insuring His followers will have a snapshot of all He has taught them. Every detail of His last hours so symbolic and providing indisputable evidence of Jesus being the long expected Messiah.
This Easter season is a perfect time to examine our hearts honestly and ask the only question we can chose to answer: Today, I must choose whom I will serve. Whom will you serve from this day forward?
Like Simon the Cyrenian let us look deeply into the eyes of Christ. Remember the sacrifice He gave as you see the reflection looking back at you from HIs eyes……………it is you! Then pick up your cross (Luke 9:23 and Matthew 16:24) and watch the Lamb.
Watch The Lamb by Ray Boltz