After all of the flogging and abuse, it’s no shock Jesus couldn’t carry the heavy cross beam all the way to Golgotha. Simon was likely a Passover pilgrim (Cyrene was in what is Libya today). Being forced to carry the cross no doubt felt like being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” But that bit of “bad luck” seems to have forever changed his life for the better.
- Mark named Simon’s sons. That only made sense if his Christian readers knew them. In Romans 16:13 Paul greeted a Christian named “Rufus,” likely Simon’s son. (William Barclay also notes that in Acts 13:1 the Christian leaders in Antioch included “Simeon called Niger.” Simeon is a form of Simon, and “Niger” a term used to mean persons from Africa. This may well have been Simon of Cyrene.) As Pastor Hamilton concludes, “in that frightening and burdensome interruption of Good Friday, Simon’s life would forever be changed.” What interruptions or accidents have had positive results in your life? How do you watch for God in the unexpected?
Some two thousand years later, do we really remember any of those people who mocked and beat Jesus, nope, not really. But some poor schlub who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration got pressed into service when he had been just minding his own business. I am sure Simon had just wanted to see the sights of Jerusalem, and the catch the whole vibe of the Passover, but he never would have signed up for this. And yet…we remember Simon of Cyrene some two thousand years after his death, for simply being there and doing what was needed.
Long ago, ok, not really all that long ago, I wanted to be a High School Social Studies teacher. I had a couple of interviews, good schools too, but for reasons I may get into on different blog, I was never hired. I had come to the conclusion that getting my teaching license and being a teacher is what I wanted to do. I proceeded to work at jobs ranging from car sales, to special education classroom aide, radio DJ to being the executive director of a museum, before I got the call, out of the blue and minding my own business to enter the ministry. In hind sight, never getting that teaching job was the best thing in the world, for me and likely countless students! All kidding a side, I didn’t get what I wanted, I was forced into situations not of my liking or choosing, but God has done some pretty marvelous stuff in my life and I cannot complain. I wonder if Simon as he grew older looked back and gave thanks for that odd bit of timing long ago in Jerusalem.