3/27 Luke 23:26

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.

Four Roman soldiers led Jesus as He carried His own cross through Jerusalem toward Calvary. One soldier in front would have had a sign that stated Jesus' crime to warn others of their fate if they tried such a thing. Jesus' crime simply read, "King of the Jews." Jesus could not physically finish the route. The scourging had drained His body of what strength He had left. The soldiers would command another person to finish the task of carrying the cross. If the flat side of a sword tapped your shoulder, you were compelled to serve your occupiers, and Simon of Cyrene felt his shoulder tapped to carry the cross behind Jesus.

Cyrene is modern day Tripoli. Simon was probably a Jew who had scraped and saved much of his life to make a trip to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with other Jews from all over the world. Suddenly his joy turned to horror as the soldiers forced him to carry the cross and follow Jesus. Some of us feel similar emotions when the Lord taps our shoulders and calls us to do the same. Yet carrying our own cross is what Jesus said we must do if we would follow him (Luke 9:23).

Mark tells us Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). One would not identify a person by their children unless their children were well-known. Apparently, as Simon witnessed Jesus' composure, His warning to the women to weep for themselves, and His forgiveness of those who crucified Him, Simon's heart was drawn to find out who this man was and why he was so different. It is believed that Mark wrote his Gospel to the church in Rome. Combine this with the fact that the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans writes, "Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother who is a mother to me as well" (Rom 16:13). It appears that Simon had conveyed his faith to his wife and son. Simon had come to partake of a Passover lamb and ended up partaking of the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

Consider: You may be shocked to hear the voice of God in your heart commanding you: "Take up your cross and follow My Son." The fruit of doing so may be the eternal destiny of your own family.