His Purpose

by DanWolgemuth on December 12, 2008

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. ~ Mark 15:21

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. ~ Luke 23:26

He was a passerby, innocent, uninvolved and most likely uninformed. His journey had taken him from Libya in Northern Africa to the vortex of God’s redemptive plan. He was a Jew, a participant in the celebration of Passover. He had come to Jerusalem to publicly declare the beauty of God’s faithful rescue of the Jews from Egypt. And now, he was there for the ultimate Passover.

His introspection and worship were providentially interrupted. He we “compelled,” in fact, he was involuntarily “seized” to lend his back to the burden of the cross.

Perhaps the Jews feared that Jesus would die on His way to His public execution, this was a pragmatic move on their part, not a gesture of mercy. Their intent was to extinguish and shame any and all notions that Jesus had any prophetic or messianic purposes, and to do that, they needed Him to survive until they could “lift him up” as a public spectacle, as an enemy of society, a revolutionary of sorts. And so, Simon of Cyrene was a means to an end, a human moving van.

So they grabbed him, a passerby. In an instant his life changed, and not just for that day, but forever, and not just for himself, but for his sons, Alexander and Rufus. Perhaps they had joined their father on the Passover journey, much like young Jesus had done (Luke 2:41, 42). The fact that their names are mentioned in the book of Mark leads to the conclusion that they too were impacted by this “cross carrying interruption.”

Simon carried the cross to Golgotha. He lugged the burden all the way to its final destination. To the place where reconciliation with God would be accounted for.

Simon didn’t argue his way out from under the cross. He didn’t delegate, he didn’t avoid, he didn’t rationalize, he simply and obediently carried the cross.

This wasn’t God’s punishment for Simon. It was God’s call on his life.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them:

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ~ Mark 8:34

My agenda, interrupted, and a cross thrust my way, not in punishment, but with purpose. May I carry it as honorably as Simon.

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