Simon the Cyrene, his wife, and his two sons have been our focus this week. Have you ever wondered about him, as he carried the cross of Christ? Was he converted at the cross?
He may have been. It's very true that he would have been there at the cross. Whether he tarried there, and was influenced by all he saw and heard, we don't know. We can only speculate -- but there's no need for argument! The manner in which Jesus behaved must have impressed Simon and his wife. Our Lord showed no fear during the ordeal. He instead modeled for us a picture of the peace that is beyond human understanding. If they remained there at the cross, they would have heard Jesus speak -- and the only times He spoke from the cross were to pray to God, or to help someone. He never railed on the soldiers, or accused them of injustice; He never responded to the mob; He never cried out to the humans there for mercy. Simon and his wife must have been changed by the experience, even if it was just that they pondered these things and talked together about them.
As people of character and great faith, if they heard Jesus pray, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," they would have realized that Jesus was willingly giving Himself. As students of the scriptures, they would have known the prophesies and hopes of the prophets. They may have recalled this passage that prophesied the Messiah:
Over the next weeks, if not converted at the cross, their thoughts must have returned again and again to the puzzle....was Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah they'd longed for? Then on Pentecost, they heard Simon Peter, a disciple who had faltered during the ordeal, because of his fear -- now he preached boldly that this Jesus was both Lord and Christ. Belief, hope, and joy bloomed in their hearts; they may have been among the three thousand converts on that day. They may have stepped out from the crowd and accepted baptism in water by one of the apostles, publicly acknowledging that they were ready to live for Jesus.
I would like to think that Simon and his wife established a Christian home. A home of character and faith that nurtured two boys to become Christians, and leaders of the church.
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. (Romans 16:13)What does all this mean to us? Have we, like Simon, taken up the cross? Have we been ready and willing to influence our families for Christ, as Simon's wife seems to have done?
(Luke 9:23)The way of the cross leads to forgiveness of sin, and an abundant life in Christ -- and then to the defeat of death! Each of us is called to bear His cross. But it will not be forced on us; we take this on with willing hearts. Whatever circumstances we are burdened with, and whatever suffering we bear that we did not cause, let's bear our cross joyfully, and serve the Lord until we go to be with Him. Until that time, we can trust in His faithfulness, and know that His kindness and mercy never fails!
(I really like how the translation "The Message" renders this passage, so it may read a little differently than your study Bible.)
I'm pretty certain that y'all feel as I do, and we would have been glad to carry the cross. But in our lives, today, there are still opportunities to bear His cross. The cross was what it cost our Lord to do the will of the Father.
If we choose to walk in His pathway, we will bear His cross, too.
But our hope is in Him, and He will never, ever fail us!