Exodus 19.20; Mt 27:27-50

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. Matt. 27:32

OK, so who was this guy Simon, and why do three of the four Gospel writers decide to include his name in the telling of the story?  I know from my study bible notes that it was common place for the Roman guards to get someone to carry the cross for a person on their way to be crucified if that person (as was the case with Jesus) was too weak to do it themselves.  The impression I get from that, and from how I envision the scene is that they simply grabbed Simon as he was passing by.  I know a few Hollywood versions of that scene depict Simon volunteering for the job, but I’m not sure scripture paints that picture.  My other research on Simon of Cyrene doesn’t turn up much about him either.

What really strikes me is that I also know that some translations use the word “compelled” or “pressed” instead of “forced.”  Which, on the outset may not seem different, but to some extent they are a bit less aggressive sounding then “forced.” In fact, I feel like the word “compelled” is closer to the truth here.  While Simon may not have actually volunteered for the job, I suspect it was God’s plan to compel him to be in that place at that time to do what needed doing.

What’s interesting is that the account doesn’t indicate Simon’s reluctance.  When asked (compelled) to step up for the Lord, he did so willingly, without complaint.  How often have I complained about stepping up for the Lord? How many times has God compelled me to be in a place and be faced with opportunities to advance His kingdom?  How many times have I failed to do just that? While Simon may have been just a passer by, I can’t imagine his life wasn’t changed after that day.  My life was changed when I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart.  My life now needs to be about stepping up when he compels me!

God, help me to get past praying for the courage to answer your compelling call, and to actually step up and be the man you want me to be! Amen

Jim (jmitch1)



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3 responses to “Exodus 19.20; Mt 27:27-50

  1. kathy (klueh)

    This story gives me hope. I am sure that to Simon, it looked like there was no hope and there certainly wasn’t going to be a positive outcome in Jesus’s situation. I am all about volunteering for endeavors where my efforts are guaranteed success. Serving in less than gratifying conditions…well, that’s not my thing and yet that’s where my family is right now. Good encouragement to stop my complaining and pick the cross back up. Thanks.

  2. It really stuck out to me when you said, “I suspect it was God’s plan to compel him to be in that place at that time to do what needed doing.”
    It reminded me of a book I am reading called, “in a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson, He references 2 Samuel 23. Where Benaiah chased a lion down & killed it. Mark says that “God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. But here’s the catch, The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time.”
    I want to answer His compelling call on my life too,

  3. I recently encouraged a friend to look for what God may be calling her to. She has positioned herself to take on more responsibility, being at the right place and being prepared is how God uses us, I think. We may not feel prepared, and we may feel that the call is for someone else, but like Simon we can answer picking up that cross. Being able to do so is how God shows Himself to be faithful by supplying the strength and knowledge and opportunity for us to be at a specific place and at the perfect time to serve Him. I just pray that when the call comes, I say, “Here am I, Lord.”

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