Simon of Cyrene

Posted by Emma on April 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Filed under:Christianity,Heroes of the Faith

Resurrection Sunday (i.e. Easter) was this past Sunday. I had wanted to post this on Sunday but never had time to actually sit down and write it. I have been pondering the crucifixion for a few weeks and especially what it must have been like for Simon the Cyrenian and his family. “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” Mark 15:21

Try putting yourself in Simon’s shoes. Simon was from Cyrene. He had probably made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. Travel was not as easy in those days as it is now. It would have taken months of travel and a fair amount of money to come to Jerusalem. This was probably not a trip that he got to take very often, this might have been his first time to Jerusalem.

He has looked forward to this day for a long time. The air would have been filled with excitement and joy as millions of pilgrims were in and around Jerusalem. That Passover morning would have found thousands of people coming into Jerusalem from the surrounding villages for the morning offerings. Simon was among these. He would have been extremely excited and very joyful. That afternoon he was going to offer the Passover offering and that evening with family and friends he would eat the seder meal. It was a very important day for the Jews. It would have been in great excitement and anticipation of that days events that Simon walked into town

Then everything went bad. A Roman soldier hollered at him to come carry a heavy cross beam. I image that Simon was surprised and wondered if it was really him the Roman was calling. It was. Reluctantly, he picked up the cross beam for a bleeding criminal and carried it outside the city. His hopes and dreams for that day were devastated. Other criminals had mostly likely been crucified on that same beam. It was contaminated and would render Simon unclean. He could not go into the temple that day. He could not offer the Passover offering. He could not eat the seder. His whole trip had been in vain. I would image that depression swept over him. He probably wondered, why me.

Now that all of Simon’s plans for the day had been ruined, he probably did not know what to do with himself. I suspect that he would have watched and wondered about the women and men who followed Jesus to Calvary. He probably wondered who it was that was hanging on the cross and what he had meant when he said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry.” Luke 23:28-31. This was no ordinary criminal. I am sure he would have seen the sign on Jesus’ cross that read King of the Jews and wanted to know what it meant.

As Jesus hung on the cross that day, and the other pilgrims prepared for the Passover offering and seder, I suspect that Simon did some research. Who was this man on the cross? He probably found out that Jesus was a great prophet who some thought was the Messiah. He would have heard how the Chief Priests had taken him the night before and brought him to Pilate. Now the disciple’s hope was gone and Simon’s trip seemingly had been in vain. As the day went on, it got dark at noon and stayed dark until the middle of the afternoon, at the same time that the afternoon offering was made the earth shook and reports beginning to circulate that the veil in the temple had been rent in twain from top to bottom. Simon’s curious probably grew greater. He probably heard that all this had happened at the same time that Jesus had died. he probably wondered, could this really have been the King of the Jews, the Messiah.

I think that Simon was still in town three days later when rumors start circulating that Jesus was alive and people had seen Him. Simon probably wondered and inquired about this. I think that in those days following the resurrection, Simon came to trust in Jesus and realize that Jesus was the Messiah and died for His sins. Simon would have once again been filled with joy and excitement. The joy that comes for the Messiah and excitement for what this new life looked like. Simon would have realized that his trip to Jerusalem was not in vain. He had been part of one of the most important events ever to take place and he had had one of the most important events in his life take place. Carrying the cross of Christ is never in vain.

I do not know for sure that Simon got saved right after Jesus rose again, but I am pretty certain that he was saved. His name is mentioned in three of the gospels. If he had not been a believer it is doubtful that the believing community would have known who he was or who his sons were when the Gospels were written. I do not know how you could go through what Simon went through and not get saved. After what Jesus went through for us, how could we not get saved?

Some of this article is speculation, but the facts of the crucifixion and resurrection are accurate. You can read them in the Gospels.

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