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. And they brought Him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). (Mark 15:21-22)
Simon must have felt like the unluckiest man in all Jerusalem that day. There he was, minding his own business, on his way into the city during the Passover holiday. The next thing he knew, he was caught up in someone else's execution parade, carrying the man's cross, bound for Golgotha.
How horrifying! How embarrassing! Why, anybody might see him, Simon, carrying that cross. They would probably assume that he himself was the criminal. And there was no way of getting out of it—getting the Romans angry at you was never a good idea. How Simon must have squirmed!
It looked like bad luck—but it wasn't luck at all that brought Jesus to that place, stumbling toward Golgotha and the cross that would soon carry Him. Jesus was no passerby, and His cross was borrowed—from us. Jesus was stumbling toward Golgotha by His own free will and intent, carrying out God's plan to rescue all of us from sin and the power of the devil.
Chances are good Simon became a Christian later on. Mark mentions his sons' names, which suggests they were known in the church. If so, Simon would have realized the great honor that fell to him that day—to carry Jesus' cross, while Jesus Himself carried all our sins and brokenness away from us forever. And in their place, Jesus gives us His joyful, innocent, everlasting life—the gift of His resurrection.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for carrying me and setting me free. Amen.
* What is the heaviest thing you have ever carried?
* Have you ever had "bad luck" which turned out to be a great blessing?
* Why do you think God allowed Jesus to have this moment of weakness, which Simon helped Him with?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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