In His moment of suffering, Jesus, the Son of God, required the help of a random bystander. “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross” (Mk. 15:21, NIV).
Jesus, the Creator, allowed a created being to help Him carry His cross.
This humility as an attribute of God is unexpected and revealing. It’s always startling when God doesn’t act like God. Jesus could have powered up and revealed His divine “muscles.” But He didn’t. By setting aside His rightful claim as God, He expressed humanity’s need for others. Jesus needed help on the journey, just as we do, also.
The fact that we know this man’s name gives credence to the story. It’s as if the Gospel writers were saying, “Find him and ask him.” Imagine being in a room with Simon, and the murmur of hushed voices begins to spread. “That’s him—the cross-bearer.”
Simon’s is a unique and singular testimony. He helped Jesus carry His cross. However, we share this testimony as our own whenever we help bear the cross of others because we do so as if it were Jesus Himself whom we are serving.
Christianity isn’t a solo sport. Sometimes we can seemingly withstand the most difficult of circumstances, and in other moments, we need the assistance of others. You are not alone in your journey. There are others, and they have names and stories. Sometimes, you need “Simon” to step out of the crowd and help you carry the burden you are staggering beneath.
It is an honor to be Simon of Cyrene in someone’s life. Where can you step in and bear up under the weight that someone else is carrying so that they may continue on the road they have been called to travel? You may be helping someone, or someone may be helping you on this journey of discipleship and obedience. This is the way of humility, and this is the way of Jesus.
Prayer + Reflection
- Take stock of any areas in your life where you feel your burden is too great to bear. Ask the Lord to provide others to relieve those, and pray for humility to receive the help.
- Think of those around you who may need help shouldering a burden. Ask God to provide a way for you to step up and help them.
- Thank the Lord this Easter week that “being in very nature God,” Jesus humbled Himself to live a human life and die on the cross for our sins, and thank Him for His resurrection and redemption (Phil. 2:6-11).
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