“A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.” –Mark 15:21
I once read that criminals to be crucified often had to carry to the place of crucifixion their own cross beam, a piece of wood weighing up to fifty pounds. Jesus started out by shouldering His cross, but He had been so weakened from floggings that a passerby named Simon was pressed into service.
It’s interesting to note that Simon was only passing by and that he was forced to carry the cross of Christ. I like to imagine, however, the relief Jesus must have felt – after having helped so many others in so many ways, here was a man to help Him!
Often you’ll hear hurting and overburdened people say, “This is the cross I must bear.” These dear people need burden bearers. They need help and, in a way, their unspoken plea may be, “Where is my Simon?”
But who will help? Like Simon, you may see yourself as an innocent passerby being forced into service – helping an aunt recover from a stroke – assisting a neighbor who just got out of the hospital – lending a hand to a co-worker who recently was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
And like Simon, the task may take you unaware, your plans may be interrupted, and you may feel put-upon. But as you carry the burden of a hurting friend or family member, you may discover that your attitude will change – especially when you see that smile of relief and gratitude. You’ll discover the privilege of being someone’s Simon.
What a privilege it was for Simon to carry Your cross, Lord. In a way, I have the same privilege as I bear the burdens and carry the hurts of Your body, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Let me be a Simon to someone today.