In the Roman Empire, when a man was sentenced to be crucified, he would have to carry his cross, from the prison to the place of execution. That would be a weight of at least 100 pounds on the shoulders of someone that had been brutally beaten. They would tie the heavy beam to the arms, resting it between the neck and the spine. If the prisoner stumbled he had no way of protecting himself from a fall.
More than the weight of the heavy beam on his shoulders, Jesus carried the weight of our sins.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
The weight on the shoulders of our precious Savior was too much. They stopped a man coming to town from the country, Simon from Cyrene, “and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus” (Luke 23:26). That’s about all we know about this man, except that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus.
How this affected Simon we don’t know, but later on the apostle Paul writes to the Romans about Rufus. “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Rom 16:13). At least we know it affected Rufus, and made him a follower of Christ.
Simon was probably never the same after that day. You’re never the same after an encounter with Jesus. Simon had been chosen with a purpose. In some way he alleviated the heavy road Jesus’ had to tread to the cross.
Each follower of Jesus is chosen with a purpose, chosen in the Lord. First and foremost we are chose for salvation, but then also for service. I will never forget the day I was “chosen” for service. At the early age of ten, God revealed to me that I was chosen to proclaim the Gospel to children. Jesus asked me in a vision if I was willing to go tell boys and girls about Jesus, specifically “brown” boys and girls. That is what I have done all my life, and my big passion to this day is to make teaching materials available so boys and girls in the Spanish speaking countries will hear about Jesus.
I was never the same after that day. As a teen-ager I didn’t fool around, because I always had in the back of my mind, “I have been chosen!” I knew God had a special plan for me, and even before age fifteen I started fulfilling that plan.
If you are reading this and you love Jesus, you are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
If you are not yet a follower of Christ Jesus, today is your day to be “chosen”! Really, God chose you to be his even before the creation of the world.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Simon from Cyrene was seized and forced to carry Jesus’ cross. God does not force anybody to follow him and carry Jesus’ cross, so to speak. With love and compassion God invites you to come to him, to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, to be made his adopted son or daughter, to inherit his kingdom. Come to him today. You will never regret it