Friday, March 25, 2016

Voices of the Crucifixion: Simon of Cyrene: "I Would Gladly Carry His Cross."

 Our story continues on the Via Dolorosa, the road to crucifixion.

Early this morning, I was on my way to Jerusalem from the country, and I saw this crowd gathered. I heard much shouting and jeering. I wondered what was going on, but I'm not one to get involved. I just wanted to take care of my business and enjoy the Sabbath with my family. It was Passover and my wife had a list of chores for me to help her with, so I needed to get home.

But in order to conduct my business, I had to go through that crowd to get to where I needed to go. I waited awhile, thinking the crowd would disperse, but it only grew. 

Suddenly, I saw a break in the crowd, and I seized the opportunity to get through and move on. As I began to cross through the crowd, I saw this man who appeared to have been brutally beaten. He was bleeding so much that it seemed as if I there was more blood than flesh. He was carrying a cross...barely. I recognized this Roman punishment for crucifixion. The criminal was to carry his own cross to his death as a symbol of conformity to the law, which he had broken. 

It caused me to stop. I watched for a moment. The poor man kept falling from the weight of the cross; he was clearly unable to continue to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where he would be crucified.

I couldn't watch any more. This punishment was brutal. I was just about to continue on, when I heard a loud and demanding voice call to me. "You there!" I turned and saw a Roman soldier looking and pointing at me.


"Yes...YOU! What's your name?"

"Simon, of Cyrene," I replied. What did this soldier want with me? I did nothing wrong.

"Well...Simon, of Cyrene," he said with a sarcastic tone in his voice, "Carry his cross."

Now, I'm not a strong man; I prefer to work with numbers rather than lumber. But I had heard this man...Jesus they called him. I had listened to his teachings and I believed what he said. I also believed that he was being unjustly punished. I'm not sure what his crime was, but the Jesus I'd heard was gentle and kind; certainly not deserving of this savage treatment. But I certainly wasn't going to disobey an armed soldier.

I gladly took his cross.

He was tired and his body was battered. My heart went out to him. Yet...I felt something in mine; as if, even in his battered state, his heart went out to me. It wasn't merely a sentiment of thanks for my carrying his cross. It was something deeper-a connection that cannot be explained. 

It was as if he knew me. 

I kept my pace with his; he could barely walk. He fell several times. I wanted to help him up, but that soldier kept his eye on me to make sure I did only what I was told to do-carry his cross. The weight on my shoulders was great, but the weight on his had to be much greater. 

I would gladly carry his cross. And in so doing, I would never again be the same.

For readers new to my blog-I hope you enjoy these stories. I have tried to remain as biblically correct as possible while still taking creative license. For my long time readers, my apologies if you've read these before, but I pray they will still touch your heart.These stories are my interpretation of what may have gone on inside these individuals' heads.

1 comment:

  1. Mary, this is truly inspired writing. I am enjoying the *eyewitness* view, and I feel myself right there. I wish the Bible said more about Simon, but I think you've done a fine job of bringing his part in the crucifixion story alive. I liked this especially:

    "My heart went out to him. Yet...I felt something in mine; as if, even in his battered state, his heart went out to me."

    This brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful, just beautiful.

    Have a most blessed Easter, friend!