‘A passer-by named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross…’
Scripture paints a graphic picture of this short walk from inside the city gates to a place called the Skull, Golgotha. It seems eerily fitting for this journey to make its way through the crowded streets of Jerusalem, as fans and followers of The Christ look on with horror and bewilderment, the very crucible of their faith, carrying the burden of a Roman wooden cross, barely recognisable, what a Saviour, what a King!
Now Simon, a Jew – so familiar I’m sure of his people’s painful past (stained with blood and bitter tears under the oppression of history’s cruellest dictatorships) finds himself the centre of attention as a Roman soldier places his demand ‘carry this cross!’
I can imagine the anguish and terror at the mere suggestion he involve himself in such a situation. Despite the presence of any hesitation, a passionate protest will only bring him harm, without choice and without desire Simon picks up that blood stained tree.
Without any reflection and a total absence of human right or dignity, this guest of Jerusalem is thrust into a storyline he has no control over. Despite the dark history of the Hebrew people, never before has a Jew ever had to carry a burden as heavy as our Saviour’s tree!
I have always felt that in a life completely devoted to the furthering of the Gospel based on the accomplishment of the cross, and in consideration of all the promises and benefits that
scripture makes way for, promises that should marvel and astonish all of humankind, if Jesus wasn’t the Christ, He would still be worth the admiration of a great and holy man.