SIMON OF CYRENE
CARRYING THE CROSS OF CHRIST
has always reserved certain people to experience special
blessings and become part of Biblical history, and Simon of Cyrene is one of them, since the logical thing would have been for one of
Christ’s disciples to carry His cross helping Him until He reached Golgotha, the
hill with the shape of a skull, also known as Calvary. Other people who were chosen outside the Lord’s closest group, Luke 4:25 to 27,
were the widow from Zarephtha of Sidon, who was visited by Elijah, or Naaman the Syrian, the leper who was cleansed by Elisha. Their hearts were close
to God, just like Simon the Cyrenian was, whose experience next to Jesus changed
his life forever after, even though he was not one of His disciples at the time.
Cyrene represents each and one of us, with whom Jesus shares His work, with whom
Jesus becomes our partner in life’s sorrows and victories, in death and
resurrection – we will never be without Him "...Where can I flee from Your
presence. Psalm 139:7" throughout eternity. The moment we bear His yoke, we bear
the spiritual burden of the greatest mission which man can take part in:
establishing the Kingdom of God, Universal and Eternal; and this experience
transforms our heart, it is unity with Jesus, it is understanding His
humiliation and ours, for glory and exaltation, it is victory of the King of
kings in the greatest battle ever won, it is sharing the fight for love, for
us, for our brethren, for Him, for the Father in the Spirit. Let us carry the
Cross of Christ, our own cross, and the Lamb’s yoke – there is no greater
privilege. The victory is through His merit. We are a friend of the King of
the Universe; we are personal friends of the Son of God, of God’s heir and
joint heirs with Christ. To Him be the praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
story appears in three of the Gospels: Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21 and Luke 23:26,
and leads us to one of many precious situations when we share spiritual intimacy
with Jesus; but this time, under the Cross and on the way to Golgotha, through
Simon of Cyrene we will share one of the greatest privileges a Christian may
as they came out, they found a man of
Cyrene, Simon by name.
Him they compelled to bear
His cross. 33And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is
to say, Place of a Skull... Matthew 27:32.
they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and
Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by,
to bear His cross. 22And they brought Him to
the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Mark 15:21.
they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was
coming from the country, and on him they laid the
cross that he might bear it after Jesus. 27And a great
multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented
Him. 28But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of
Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for
THE WAY TO GOLGOTHA
Cyrene was on his way back from the country, he was earlier than usual because
Jerusalem was busy preparing for the Jewish Passover, and he belonged to the
synagogue of the Cyrenians. On arrival, he came across a crowd and
roman soldiers, who were leading three men to be crucified. Simon’s mind was
surely disturbed by this situation - just like any of us would have been – even
though it was not an unusual thing, but it was the evening before Passover, and
when they walked passed close to him – so close – he must have asked himself:
why is that man covered in blood and with a crown of thorns on his head? He had
never seen anything like it. Why have they done that to him, and not to the
other two? Who can it be? He cannot be recognized. Woman,
who is that man? He is Jesus the Messiah. Jesus falls with His cross in front of
Simon, He cannot bear it any longer because He is too weak due to the mocking.
Poor man!. Suddenly, a hand hits Simon on the shoulder: “Hey, you! Help
him carrying the cross up to Golgotha, come on, quick”. Oh my God, what have I
done? Why me? I don’t
even know him, he is not my friend, I have only heard about him. Simon took
the cross, covered with Christ’s Blood, which was then over Simon’s skin,
over his hair, clothes, hands. Jesus then stood up and when He was side by side
with Simon, just like under a yoke, looked at him. The friendly look, filled
with the deepest love, from His eyes must have riveted in Simon’s heart. A look
he would never forget, a look which would remove any
which would make him His best friend, which would be filled with faith. Whilst
we walked together they were spitting at him, throwing stones, insulting him,
whilst He sacrificed for them and for me. I don’t understand anything, but here
I am, under this heavy cross where this man - they say he is the Son of God –
and who is now my friend, my best friend, is going to die.
We do not know what they said to each other on the way up,
but surely Jesus must have thanked the Father to relieve his burden by sending
Simon, the chosen one. The prayer from Jesus for Simon, his companion sharing
the burden, must have shaken heaven. Abba, Father, give Simon the strength so I
may fulfill Your assignment, and give him faith to believe in Your Son’s work,
keep him for my kingdom.
would we tell Jesus if we had been in Simon’s place? Now we know about Jesus and
how He has changed our lives, but at that time, without knowing about Him we
cannot know our reaction. Without any doubt, the experience of walking next to
Him would have transformed us. His eyes,
His words, the people around, some of them crying out, and others
rejecting him; His presence. Today, now, we can tell the Lord many things: thank
you for saving me, for loving me even in my sins, for looking at me and calling
me, for doing your work inside me every day, and for showing me how You are, how
to change and grow in the Spirit to be there for You and for my friends in
Christ. Thank you for so many things, for bearing that cross in my place and
for dying for me,
for resurrection and for the strength to live until You come, for changing my
heart. Make our faith grow and keep us under your shadow until the day comes.
Simon carried on all the
way up to the end, left the cross on the ground, they pushed him aside and they
crucified Jesus and the other two men. The quest for replies started from this
moment onwards, Simon’s prayer to God, the questions to those who knew Him.
Simon was transformed, he would never be the same again, his family would be
transformed, just like his friends, when he told them about his experience. He
would not consider himself worthy of having shared the Cross of The Lord, The
Messiah of Israel and the world, but he would thank the Father for that
privilege. His son Rufus would be called to the ministry, as mentioned by Paul
in Romans 16:13. Simon looked for Jesus once he found out that He would
resurrect and that He would appear before the apostles or maybe the Lord Himself
appeared in this man’s dreams or visions. This man was not chosen at random, he
was no doubt chosen before he was born to carry the cross of Jesus, with Jesus,
in which He would save humanity, those who believe in Him.
The Church would welcome him with brotherly love. This could be the real story of Simon of Cyrene.
Cyrene’s wife, surely already converted, already prayed for him, as we can
gather from the details found in the Bible: first, the fact that his sons,
Alexander and Rufus are known in the community, as they are mentioned in the
Gospel, and because Paul considered Rufus’ mother as a mother, Romans
16:13. Her prayers could not have found a better reply than placing her husband
under their Lord’s Cross.
Jesus so close to him in such an emotional circumstance, real, so deeply
relevant meant that this man would never in his life forget his burden partner, a burden which at the beginning he must have felt as
somebody else’s and not his own, but imagine what Simon must have thought when
Jesus resurrected on the third day. He, himself, had been carrying the cross
through the Via Dolorosa, up to Calvary and once there, he saw
Him being crucified. What would we have done under that circumstance if we did
not believe in Him while the Lord was dead? We would have searched for Him, we
would have looked for the disciples, or his family, or any of those who knew
Him, in order to find out more about Him.
experience which must have made Simon understand the Jesus’ words to the
Apostles when He was showing us to carry our own cross, how Jesus Himself helps
us to carry our own – He does not take it away from us – He carries the heavier
part of the burden; just like we have to carry the heavier burden for those
brothers who cannot bear it. Sometimes it means we need to pull them along,
instead of judging and condemning them, when our brother/sister is a stand
still or cut off sheep, we will be there for them, not
looking at whether we are better or worse friends, whether we like them more or
less, whether they are more or less saint – knowing that they love the Lord and
their brethren should suffice, because we all fall and fail many times. We will
carry a Christian’s burden, with the hope that God gives us to be able to raise
fallen lives – no matter how difficult it may be – because Christ will not leave
us alone doing the work, He is there, next to us, in life, in this great
tribulation which is life on earth, the prelude to eternal life.
FOUR VISIONS OF THE CROSS
one is when we are compelled to carry His cross up to Calvary – what is our
reaction when we have to carry the gospel to the rest of the world, and when
they ask us for help?.
second one is the attitude of the malefactor one who offended Christ, being
arrogant, with disbelief.
one is the attitude of the other malefactor who reprimanded the first one and
asked Jesus to remember him when He came in His Kingdom, and he received
the reply that, that day he would be with Him in paradise. These two men
are the two attitudes of man on Judgment Day, one, to despise
salvation through faith on its own and the other one to recognize oneself as
sinner, repent and pray for mercy.
fourth one is before the Cross of Christ, who gives His life for us and for our
personal relationship with our
Saviour the moment we understand that He has died
in our place, that we should be the ones on that Cross, not Him.
All of them start on the same street, in Jerusalem, almost
two thousand years ago, when the Son of God was forced to take a cross which He
would carry together with a man who represents all of us – Simon of Cyrene.
The burden of the cross is the yoke of Christ, which He invites
us to share and which He describes as light and easy to carry thanks to the
greatest power which God gives us: the love of Christ. The yoke is, as we all
know, a wooden piece which allows two oxen to pull the burden together.
This yoke is the same cross in horizontal, where the two parts which were used to nail the
hands of the Messiah, were placed on the shoulders of each of the men – Jesus
and Simon – when he was forced to help Jesus carry His cross. That obligation
would later became a privilege for him.
It is needless to say that we are not saved by our cross – it
is the one of the Lamb of God, Yahshua the Messiah, which saves us. Our help
does not provide us with salvation, neither does our testimony or our spiritual
effort but the life of the Son of God given and resurrected. But Jesus has left
for his bride, the Church, part of the burden, as the Bible says: …I
now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh
what is lacking in the
afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.
Carrying the cross of Christ means carrying His testimony, preaching the Gospel,
offer up a
sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name, Hebrews
13:15; be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, reveal His work
amongst men, speak in places and circumstances where nobody talks about God but
about vanities, profit and flesh; defend – out of love for them – the salvation
of the soul and repentance, publish a type of conversation which the human mind
does not like because it is condemned by it, because it announces its
foolishness and death. Additionally, the cross of Christ implies carrying the
suffering which He bears when He looks at the souls being lost because they
reject Him and us, to see humanity destroying itself, people hurting one
another, to dominate, due to envies, to have power, to prevail, for hate; all
those things which are totally opposite to the love of God have been nailed on
the Cross in those who accept Him as their Saviour, changing their hearts. The
cross of Christ means that we will be hated, prosecuted, some of us even killed,
and all this tribulation is for the Lord’s glory, which is very different to the
gospel of well-being, financial prosperity and blessings which the crowds are
looking for in some mega-show churches. We, the Christians are called to bear
our own cross for our love for Christ, and for our brethren; we see it in
Galatians 6:2 and 1John 3:16 and 17, this is our
Melchizedek Priesthood, priest
forever, our Lord Jesus Christ.
ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and
my relatives stand afar off. Psalm 38:11.
When He sees His friends and beloved ones far away when He carried the Cross.
...Cast your burden on the LORD, and
He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the
righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22.
Simon did not leave The Just fallen and carried His Cross.
...It is good for a man to bear the yoke
in his youth.
him sit alone and keep silent, because
God has laid
it on him; Lamentations 3:27-28.
This is the yoke which the Father imposed on His Son to save His bride, the
...It shall come to pass in that day that
his burden will be taken
away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will
be destroyed because of the anointing oil. Isaiah 10:27.
The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointment from the
Spirit because it is no longer a burden, but for the love of God.
...Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and
bear no burden on the
Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 17:21.
This was also fulfilled when Jesus died, just before the Grand Sabbath, the day
known as the Grand Passover Sabbath.
compels you to go one mile,
go with him two. Matthew 5:41. Simon went with the
Lord until the end, carrying the cross through the first mile and he would then
carry his own cross in his life, which was the second mile.
to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for
I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My
yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28.
This is what Jesus teaches us, that the yoke which He carries is for the
salvation of man: He conquered that miracle and we proclaim it throughout the
…What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them,
does not leave the ninety nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is
lost until he finds it? 5And when he has found it,
he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And
when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying
to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7I say to
you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:4.
The Cross of Christ is the one which gives life to the lost sheep
which is the Church – ourselves. Because of us He left His throne, came to
earth, died and resurrected.
one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
The Law of Christ.
… Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the
fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings,
that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed
are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On
their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15But let none
of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other
people’s matters. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.17 For the time has come for
judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first,
what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18Now if the
righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner
appear? 19Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit
their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:12.
Simon of Cyrene represents our life next to Christ for His
glory, not because we are forced to by religion, but for love for Him and for
those whom He loved and for whom He died. It is walking the way of the cross,
which should have been our path to being condemned, and which He took in our
place. A symbol which was already seen in Abraham when he had to offer Isaac,
and whose place was taken by a lamb, Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the
world. Cyrene, a small community. Simon, a privileged Jew whom the Lord called
to receive salvation of the true Messiah, so that we, today, can have testimony
and nourish our spirit with such a magnificent experience which brings us closer
to Jesus, to face the moment of our death, to discover that the Lord Himself
will also be next to us on that day when we are called to go with Him, and with
Him in His coming, in the rapture flying to heaven in praise, to the eternal
kingdom, to the dwellings which He is preparing for us inside the Father’s
heart, so we can face that moment with confidence.
Now, let us rejoice in our sufferings for our loved Lord
Jesus Christ, and fill up that which is behind of the
afflictions of Christ in our flesh for his body's sake, which is the church.,
according to Colossians 1:24. Glory and honour be to our Lord Jesus Christ. The
Lord is coming. Amen.