The man who helped Jesus
Luke 23:26 (ESV)
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
Simon of Cyerene
Mark 15:21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
Cyrene is a city in North Africa, today’s Libya. We don’t know if he was Jewish or Gentile because the name Simon was common for Greeks and Jews
Luke is the only one of the Gospels that says Simon carried the cross behind Jesus. All the other Gospels that mention this just say he carried it.
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Suffering with Jesus
Simon was chosen so suddenly and unexpectedly for the heavy task be Luke’s way of teaching us that we don’t always choose the moment of our cross bearing?
We don’t always choose the moment of our suffering. They come upon us in unexpected ways, frightening ways, heavy ways, painful ways, seemingly random ways.
The call to suffer for Jesus is often sudden and costly and seemingly random
Accidentally following Jesus
There is speculation, based on some church tradition, that Simon of Cyrene later became a Christian
There is also tradition that the Rufus mentioned in Mark 15:21 is the same Rufus mentioned in Romans 16:13. If this is the case, then it would lend credence to the idea that Simon and his family were prominent in the early church
Carrying the cross
The act of carrying the cross was forced upon Simon of Cyrene, symbolizing another important truth: Carrying our cross isn’t necessarily a choice
The cross is more than a place where Jesus died. It’s a place of transformation,
Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.