Luke 23:26 – As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. (NIV 2011)
Last year, during the Lenten season, our pastor played a song in church called Watch the Lamb by Ray Boltz. This song is a beautiful depiction of the scene portrayed in today's Scripture. Not much is known about Simon of Cyrene except that he is famously remembered for helping Jesus carry the cross on His way to Golgotha. We also know from Mark 15:21 that Simon was the father of two sons, Rufus and Alexander.
Tradition has it that Simon and his family became Christians; many church scholars believe that Simon's wife and son Rufus are mentioned in Romans 16:13. Although this cannot be proven, I would be surprised if Simon did not become a believer. How could the man who walked so closely behind Jesus, helped carry His cross, watched His execution, and gazed into His compassionate eyes, have possibly gone home that day unmoved, unaffected, or unchanged by our Saviour's great love and sacrifice?
One year after listening to the inspiring words of Watch the Lamb, three large wooden crosses were set up in front of our church sanctuary. This time, during the communion service, church members were encouraged to literally lift one of those crosses as a symbolic act of faith signifying our willingness to bear the cross of Christ. But how can we really apply this principle in our daily lives?
Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (NIV)
Jesus' disciples learned this truth when they followed His example, denying themselves for His sake, even when it meant their own suffering and death. Thus, Simon of Cyrene became an image of discipleship for all believers who are prepared to take up their cross and follow the Lord.
This experience also brought to mind the high place where the Saviour died for the sins of the world — not along a Roman road where many were executed in that day, but on a special hill called Golgotha or Calvary.
John 12:32 – But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. (NIV)
Therefore, the cross, when it is lifted up, brings glory to Christ.
At first, Simon may have been reluctant to do his part; yet, it was a small inconvenience compared to the blessings of salvation that he later received. Likewise, we, too, will be blessed if we walk closely behind Jesus, lifting up the cross for His sake. Rest assured, the heavier weight will be upon His shoulders.
Prayer: We thank You, dear God our Father, for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who endured the cross for our sakes in order that we might live the best of life through Him forever. May we, like Simon, lift up the cross for our Saviour, that we may also may be identified with Him in His glory. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "O Come And Mourn With Me Awhile" (Lyrics)