A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Golgotha

Posted on August 3, 2022 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters

“Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” – Mark 15:21 (NKJV)

Finally, everyone knew what the commotion was all about. Looked like the Romans were gonna crucify a few of the local derelicts this day, including a Galilean Rabbi named Yeshua. It was probably the start of an ordinary day for some, after all, it seemed that all the Romans ever did was kill people, but as for the Sanhedrin, well, they were finally gonna get rid of this “Messiah”. And as folks lined up along the Via Dolorosa, the crowd hurled insults and threw any object they could pick up off the street at the men who were carrying the very hunk of wood they were gonna get nailed on to die. All the while hating Rome, its Caesar and the Roman occupation of their land.

But Jesus couldn’t go on, He fell down with this huge weight on His shoulders, the Roman Centurions rolled their eyes, “Ah geez. Not again. This is gonna take all day” and they saw someone who didn’t look like the general population. “Hey you! Yeah you! Get over here and get your shoulder into this beam”, and before Simon of Cyrene knew exactly what was going on he was carrying The Cross of Jesus Christ. For all we know Simon coulda been mediating his way through Psalm 119 as he was coming outta the country to look on this event but the tip of a Roman spear changed all that.

Simon of Cyrene is mentioned quite a few times in Scripture, Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26, to be exact but I rarely hear about mentioned from a pulpit. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we do hear of him when The Passion is read during the arrival of Resurrection Sunday, he might even get a nod because he is carrying The Cross of Christ but not too much after that. However, if there was anyone in history who knew what it was like to, not only carry the Cross of Christ, but to have human hatred spewed upon them, completely to their embarrassment, it was Simon of Cyrene.

“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:27

I’m pretty sure that when they arrived at The Place of the Skull, Simon laid down the cross, drew a heavy sign and tried to melt back into the crowd, to just be himself again. But it was too late, he was already identified with Jesus Christ. And even though we don’t hear about Simon after this we do see his sons mentioned in Marks Gospel. You can find Rufus mentioned again in Romans 16:13 and men of Cyrene are mentioned again in Acts 11:20. Seems as if there was a conversion in this moment, wasn’t there? A funny thing happened on the way to Golgotha, didn’t it?

Let’s face it, the Cross of Christ is a hard thing to embrace when you’re someone just wanting to be about your own business (even if you’re Christian) but sometimes God will use the tip of a Roman spear to advance His agenda in your life like He did to Simon of Cyrene. Tozer once remarked that, “we talk about the deeper life and spiritual victory and becoming dead to ourselves—but we stay very busy rescuing ourselves from the cross. That part of ourselves that we rescue from the cross may be a little part for us, but it is likely to be the seat of our spiritual troubles and our defeats.” You can give me an amen after you’ve said “OUCH”.

I’m sure that Jesus already foreseen what was gonna happen to Simon of Cyrene right after He turns to the crowd following Him and says, “If you want to be My disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow Me, you cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27) Everyone was liking the miracles, the healings and the free food, “This Jesus guy is the coolest!” but Jesus reminds those following that bill comes due, always, and that discipleship has its cost.

Death to self…what a novel idea but do this in the way Simon of Cyrene had to do it and you just might come closer to Jesus than you ever did before. I’m not suggesting anything shorter than what Jesus suggests to us. “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” I bet Simon of Cyrene understands this better than any of us. Amen?


Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, who has an education in Biblical Doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy 2003. He also has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail him at cphughes515@verizon.net

Think About This: “No one wants to die on a cross—until he comes to the place where he is desperate for the highest will of God in serving Jesus Christ.” – A.W. Tozer

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 70-72Romans 4| You can download our 2022 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows righteousness. 10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die.” Proverbs 15:9-10

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