"And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull" Matt 27:31-33
"And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross." Mark 15:21
"And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus." Luke 23:26
This man, Simon, fascinates me. Nothing else is spoken of him. He is a man literally dragged into a situation who is an innocent bystander.
Christ was going on purpose. Christ had set His face like a flint. The Savior was like an arrow hurtling through space, shot by a divine hand, aimed at a death perfectly timed with an eclipse that would darken the World. Perhaps the Cross and the turning away of the Father was the eclipse. But, Simon seemed to be just going about his day. Simon was just a man passing by.
The Gospel writer knows who he is. There were several men named Simon. This man was the "father of Alexander and Rufus"... men obviously known to the Church at the time.
Perhaps this Simon is much like the nice, liberal atheistic wife who married a good guy in a band and has a family. God was not really a major part of her life... if at all. They were both just traveling through life together... moral but minding their own business. This woman suddenly finds herself married to man interested in God and the Bible. Her man just came home from work different one day. He makes decision after decision that sucks her life in a direction she never thought about or wanted to go. She is carrying something on her back that is heavy. She stands next to this man in Church as the worship music plays and he raises his hands lost in it but not her. She is wondering, "How did I get here."
I think of all the people who suffer the consequences of someone else's cross-walk. Children, grand parents, friends and co-workers all minding their own business but now the air is charged around them with a spiritual warfare they have no way to understand and cope with. Christ's blood stains their clothes and maybe they wipe it from their cheek as they carry a cross for a while. It is a heavy cross. The person they are associated with goes willingly, perhaps imperfectly, because that person resembles Christ but can't have His resolve all the time... but not them.
Part of me feels bad for Simon. Clearly this traveler was part of God's plan... a vital part. Even a perfect man needs people or perhaps I should say every perfect man needs people. Would Christ have gotten there alone? It is a question we can't answer like "Could Christ as a man have sinned?" and the answer is. He didn't sin. He didn't carry that cross alone.
As a believer we carry a finished work cross. It is not heavy. It is not our suffering. The cross we carry is Christ's suffering. We bear what He did and all the weight of glory that goes with it. We have the liberty to die to self and go about our Father's business. That may still be a heavy burden for some people around us.
We can compromise if we get sentimental about what our walk with God is doing to those around us that don't understand. Christ didn't miss a step over it. We shouldn't either. Simon and his children were known in the Church. Perhaps that is how it will go with those people in our lif. They may wipe Christ's blood off their cheek hastily with a shirt sleeve now but they have still been touched be something eternal and who knows where God will write their names.
Christ had hope as he went his way. Let's live in hope and keep on walking.