Simon of Cyrene was a man that the Bible says, “Was just coming in from the country.” A foreigner who had not been familiar with Jesus, yet His cross was placed on the back. This was as assignment that was unexpected, cumbersome, and a burden. Simon was forced to walk in a new direction, yield his plans, give up his time, and give up his rights. Moreover, the scoffing of the crowd, intended for Jesus were now directed and falling upon Simon as well. I would imagine that at some point, the blood of Jesus spilled over onto his own body. Perhaps he was even spit upon or struck with the scourge since he was side by side with Jesus. How would he make it? Would he survive the weight of this assignment?
I wonder at what point Simon realized that this “man” whom he was walking with was the key to his strength. Perhaps it was something Jesus said to him? Or maybe just the way He looked at him? I don’t really know, but I would think that somewhere along the path, the “burden” of the cross became a blessing! At some point, the sound of the crowd was hushed by the intimacy he was experiencing with Jesus.
We often have burdens thrown upon us that are so unexpected and heavy. But at what point do you realize that being yoked to Jesus is the key to your strength? At what point to you realize that with Christ, every burden becomes a blessing? At what point do you realize that every assignment is an opportunity to be intimate with Christ?
I am inspired by Simon. An innocent man who, at first, seems victimized by the soldiers, and you can’t help but feel sorry for him. But amid it all was Jesus! Therefore, there was nothing to pity. Simon’s assignment was the epicenter of intimacy with Jesus. Moreover, he wasn’t assigned by the soldiers; he was chosen by Jesus.