Monday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26

God Sometimes Honors Men in Mysterious Ways

We are now on our way to Golgotha, the hill on which our Lord was crucified.  We really don’t know how far the distance was from where Jesus began his trek to his final stop on that cursed hill, partly because we don’t know the exact way he was driven, partly because at some point in the journey, he was unable to continue.  The crossbeam the condemned carried weighed somewhere between thirty and forty pounds (ESV Study Bible, notes, 1886).  More significantly would be the weakening Jesus experienced from severe beatings beginning the night before, and, of course, the cruel scourging that took the flesh off a man’s back.  No doubt, he would have lost a lot of blood by the time he fell exhausted under the weight of the beam.

Enter Simon of Cyrene.  He is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, seemingly in passing, but he is obviously an important figure.  Indeed, Mark must tell us that he is “the father of Alexander and Rufus,” the only reason for which had to be that the Christian community to which Mark was writing his Gospel (scholars think Rome in the mid 60s, see Romans 16:13) knew the two men, perhaps personally.  At any rate, here is this man “coming in from the country,” a Jew coming to Jerusalem to attend Passover.  He has the misfortune of running upon this mad scene in which a poor man is being led away to be crucified with throngs of people lining the way, some crying like the women Luke refers to, others cheering and jeering.  When Jesus falls under the load of his cross, the Roman soldiers, who have the legal right to compel whoever is standing by to help them with manual labor, force him to carry Jesus’ cross.  You can imagine the horror: “Whoa!  I’m just here for Passover!” followed by “Shut up and carry this cross if you know what’s good for you!”  Simon complies.  And in doing so, we are led to believe that both he and his sons were eventually saved.

And so here you are, carrying a cross for a condemned man, a cross that you will carry to the chosen destination, that you will then lay down so that this man, whom you do not know, may be stretched out upon it and fastened to it by nails.  In other words, you are forced to be an accessory to this man’s cruel death.  You see this blood-soaked man, the brutal soldiers, the screaming people.  I’m sure Simon would have rather run away.  But God has the most mysterious ways of working in our lives.  What happened to Simon on that day was no doubt traumatizing, but it was definitely not accidental.  Blessed art thou, Simon of Cyrene, for you have the eternal honor of being the man who carried the cross for the One who saved us all.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply