At my most doubtful moments, when I wondered if the Cross really happened, one part of this history that was most convincing for me was the presence of Simon of Cyrene.
When Jesus was carrying His cross, He fell.
Has that ever happened to you? Did you ever have a weight on your shoulders so heavy that you collapsed under it? I’m not a subscriber to the thought that God won’t give you more than you can handle. Humans frequently are given more than they can handle. There was a group of women who came out of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide who lost their vision because they experienced and saw way more than they could handle.
Jesus fell under the weight of the Cross.
If you’re going through more than you can handle, don’t beat yourself up about not being strong enough.
When Jesus fell, the Roman soldiers grabbed a man from the crowd, Simon of Cyrene, and forced him to carry the cross all the way to Golgotha.
Why is this one of the most convincing aspects of the story for me? If people were just making this up, they wouldn’t have included the detail about Simon. It made Jesus look weak. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 and “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” – 1 Corinthians 1:25
When Mark mentions Simon of Cyrene, he says that this man was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). This means that this moment had an incredible impact on Simon, so much so that he shared about it with his family, who then became known in the church.
I often think about what bible character I would have like to have been, and more often than not I choose Simon of Cyrene. He didn’t have a huge role. His appearance doesn’t take up tons of verses. But he is the one person allowed to help Jesus.
When they get to Golgotha, an Aramaic word that means The Skull, the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus. Why Golgotha? In ancient times, Hebrews didn’t consider the head as the place of thoughts, but rather as the most public part of the person. Golgotha was outside the city where everyone coming or going could see what happened. Some scholars believe it was visible from the Temple. The Passover lambs that were being led into the Temple for slaughter could look up to see the Passover Lamb being crucified.
The nails went through His hands and feet. Have you ever felt that you were rendered completely useless, unable to do anything or go anywhere. The King of the universe experienced that as well. It’s a very tough place to be! But it’s those moments of weakness that can transform us the most. If you’re experiencing that right now, allow me to pray for you.
Father, I ask that You would be with my brothers and sisters who struggle with feeling useless and stagnant. Will You restore their soul and sense of purpose? Would You fill them with Your love and allow them to love You and others? Would You be with us when we feel weakest and fill us with Your strength?