26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.
28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’
30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’
31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” ”
Luke 23:26–31 ESV Read More
“So how was your vacation?”
“Oh, full of surprises. But one in particular ruined everything, or so we thought.”
And so begins the tale of Simon of Cyrene on his first day back to work after Passover.
Passover was a pilgrimage feast. It was one of the three times a year when every Jewish man that was able was required to go to Jerusalem. That was one thing 1,000 years previous when 99% of all Jewish men lived in the promised land. In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people were spread all over the known world. (I know, not like today, but at the time it was a big deal.)
Cyrene is in Libya, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. That means that Simon could have traveled by sea. That would at least made the trip a little more stable, perhaps.
Either way, it was a lot of trouble for him to get to Jerusalem. We don’t know for sure, but for someone living as far away as Libya, it could have been the only time he ever made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
By Roman law, any person has to carry a load for a Roman soldier for a mile. Remember Jesus saying to carry things for 2 miles if asked to carry it for one? Simon is pulled out of the crowd to carry Jesus’ cross. Jesus has been bleeding and wounded so bad that He can’t carry it Himself.
As soon as Simon comes in contact with Jesus’ blood, according to Leviticus 7, he is unclean and can’t participate in the Passover feast.
Let that sink in for a second.
The sacrifices and rituals required to make him clean again, after paying for the trip and the accommodations while he was in Jerusalem.
(And in a few hours, the Temple is going to be closed for repairs for a while!)
The curses that Jesus was able to prophecy once He had the burden of the cross lifted from Him would all come true, but not to Simon. The Apostle Paul would refer to Simon’s wife later as being “like a mother” and the children of Simon are mentioned later as being faithful and helpful believers.
His vacation was ruined and he was forced to miss Passover, but even in that moment, Jesus’ body and blood was saving someone.