Who is this man of Cyrene that was found to do what no one would do? How did they compel him … where were the other disciples? I find the verse below intriguing and troubling in that the Lord was tired and none would help him at his weakest, saddest and most painful moments. It seemed He would collapse and they observed He may not make it to Golgotha up the hill …and they started searching for someone to help. Surely a disciple would step out or at least one of the thousands that He healed or one of those He had raised from the dead would be grateful...
Mat 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
I see sympathizers vanishing and disciples fading into the distance as soldiers ferretted through the crowd…”your King needs someone to carry His cross” …no one to be found.
The battered body of Christ was visibly so weakened … it was evident that a lamb was being sacrificed. It would have been considered a curse …a detestable pollution to touch the cross of a man sentenced to be crucified …to find a helper for Jesus, a stranger would have to be found and forced to do so. Simon who may not have heard His sermons, would have normally thought this must be a robber … a thief, yet he watched wondering what He did? How is it that no one could help him? Why was he beaten so much that his entire body is lacerated with stripes and his frame seems about to fail … Mark 15:21 tells us he was coming in from a far country … a man of renown and means even as his parents are mentioned (God is not against wealth and fame). In Luke 23:26 we see that he was seized and forced to help Jesus.
No one to help Jesus – who fed thousands and raised many from the dead – who taught like no one could, who performed awesome signs and wonders? Can it be that He is alone? But this man Simon as he is forced to carry the cross was drawn to be immediately connected to God. Jesus looks at him and forces a smile through His marred face … now too tired to weep … as He welcomes this helper – He knew He was forced but it does not matter. Simon of Cyrene in joining his destiny to Christ’s receives the life changing touch that can only come from being connected to Christ. His life is no more the same.
Consider the following thoughts …are their roles no one wants to do, tasks in the Kingdom that others will ordinarily flee from … roles that are not celebrated or even considered as cursed. As you consider these roles, do not despise them or those that carry them. Do not say they are cursed or treat them as strangers …watching them piteously from afar. There are assignments that God must appear to compel His workers to take because even the most fervent disciple cannot find the grace to embrace them. Have you been seized, compelled by life into such roles in the Kingdom … can you see others laughing, mocking and sympathizing from a distance and exchanging theories on this stranger in their midst. It would have been better if you did not have to be forced or seized by circumstances and issues to embrace God’s assignments. But God does not hold that against you. Not in the least. Look for what needs to be done that others in the kingdom consider bad luck and flee from … indeed there are coveted roles that many will give anything to be assigned to; you may do well to take your eyes off these and step into the more despised roles. In eternity, I suspect Simon the Cyrene will have his special recognition.
This devotional is for the rare worker who is not up but down. The pastor who definitely did not want to be a pastor … the minister who finds himself suddenly seized into and lumbered with strange burdens others do not go near, sharing truths others will not touch … the one who others have openly vilified and called cursed, unfortunate or contaminated. They hide from the cross you must carry as they are praying for your deliverance - but you are not cursed …you are blessed …even in your prison cell sharing the gospel, or on the lonely street lending a helping hand …even if few accept your revolutionary message and you are isolated to do what God needs done. As you connect to God in this uncommon way … I assure you your life will never be the same. God will someday say thank you and well done in His own unique way. Keep fishing for souls and ministering succor to the pained. God bless you.