When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. [As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.] -Matthew 27:31-32
We don’t talk much about Simon from Cyrene (Not Peter). Being that he’s briefly mentioned in the middle of Jesus’ undeserved torment, he’s easy to overlook. However, God has shown me that there is something to learn and apply from what Simon from Cyrene was forced to go through.
Galatians 6:2 tell us to [Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ].
If I’m being brutally honest, sometimes, I’m not good at bearing the burdens of those around me. Is it my lack of sensitivity to the struggle of those around me because I’m so caught up in my daily routine? Is it my selfishness, choosing my comfort over the discomfort that comes with bearing someone else’s burden? Is it my assumption that although it looks bad, they will be all right? Sadly, the answer is,” D, all of the above.” Upon conviction, my first excuse was, “But God, I encourage. I love doing that?” His response was, “When did words suddenly become enough?” 1 John 3:18 tells us to not love with words and speech, but in action and in truth. The Holy Spirit really convicted me with this. He lead me to examine the actions of Simon from Cyrene.
Simon had nothing to do with Jesus’ so called crimes. He was just another bystander watching as Jesus carried the cross to Calvary. Yet, he was forced to help Jesus carry the cross. He wasn’t sent to simply motivate and encourage. “Jesus, you can do it!” “Jesus, I know it’s hard, but you’ll get through it.” “Jesus, it’ll be okay!” No! He was there to wrap one arm around Jesus in the midst of his agony, to wrap the other around the cross to bear, and to walk with Jesus to Calvary. He was there to help bear Jesus’ heavy load.
Think about the bleeding and bruises from the whips that accidentally hit him. Think about the shame that came with carrying a cursed tree with an alleged lunatic and accused criminal. Think about the sweat from the toil… This isn’t something he voluntarily endured. I’m sure he was comfortable just being a bystander. I’m sure he didn’t wake up expecting this to be a part of his day. Oh how this must have disrupted his daily routine.
I can relate to how Simon must have felt. That’s why God brought it up to me, so I could see myself in the Scripture. Can you see yourself in the Scripture? Do you feel the conviction from the spirit? If you haven’t been living like Simon, you should. Where Simon differs from you and I is no one will force us to bear the burdens of those around us. God, though he’s called, will never force us to love in this way. We must choose to obey his calling.
As the church we are called away from our comfort, selfishness, and assumptions. We are called away from watching as bystanders into enduring as Simon. We are called to support as we see others journeying to fulfill the calling that God has placed on their life and to be a part of their journey. We are called to endure their hardships alongside of them. Yes, use words of encouragement, but don’t stop there! Love with action! Literally bear their burdens with them! In this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.