As he travelled towards his crucifixion, Jesus was surrounded by a hostile, angry, jeering crowd. Seeing that he was stumbling, the soldiers pulled an innocent from bystander the crowd and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. All we know about him is that his name was Simon, and that he was an immigrant. Had one of the soldiers taken pity on Jesus, or had Simon stepped forward in an act of mercy towards a stranger?
Either way, Simon took the burden of the heavy cross and his kindness enabled Jesus to continue his lonely journey. Kindness, particularly from strangers, is unexpected and can make a huge impact on our lives.
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.
And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyre′ne, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
This act of kindness by Simon must have got him covered in Jesus’s blood and sweat, but it was an act of mercy. As a Christian you are called to be compassionate and merciful to people around you. Open your eyes to the suffering in this world and have mercy on those in distress.
What do you think Jesus thought when Simon carried his cross? What do you think the people in the crowd might have thought?
Have you ever received an act of kindness or mercy from a stranger? Has anyone ever offered to help you by sharing a burden you would otherwise have had to carry alone?
What gifts have “incomers” brought to your community? Why are they sometimes resented?