Simon of Cyrene: What it is to be Human

Simon of Cyrene Speaks

(Matthew 27:32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.)

I remember Jesus saying some time ago when we all thought that if we followed him, all of our problems would just disappear, “Take up your cross and follow me.” If I’d known then that this was what he meant I would never have come out here today. Did he mean that what happened to him is what is going to happen to all of us?

They had beaten him so bloody he could hardly walk…much less carry that thing.  These people are ANIMALS! By the time I got that beam off of him, I was covered in his blood.  He whispered to me, “This blood is shed for you.”  I didn’t understand it then, but I do now.  The Lamb…the Lamb of God, the Passover lamb.  My life now bears the mark of his blood like the mark on the doors of the Israelites in Egypt.    And I am covered BY his blood.  Covered by his love.

I came to Jerusalem on pilgrimage.  I needed to bury my pain.  People say that salvation can be found here in Jerusalem.  A person can be made new here.  When my wife died two years ago giving birth to our still-born son I was so mad at God.  I felt so far away from Him.  God is immortal…unwoundable.  How could God possibly know what my wife and child’s deaths felt like?  He either did that or He let that happen and all I could think up to this very day is that God had left me to suffer alone here on this earth.  How could God possibly know the pain of being human… the grief that comes with being a son of Adam?

God could have stopped this at any point.  But if it was me that they beat and strapped to a cross, I couldn’t have done anything to stop it.  I couldn’t even stop my wife and child from dying.  I’m just a man. Powerless. A nobody.  Not even a good man. There would be nothing my dad could do to help me. He’s a nobody just like me.  But this man, Jesus,  was God’s anointed one.  God was his dad. God could have stopped this…but that would have made Jesus separate from me…different…special.  And he chose not to be special. He rejected his privilege.  I get it.  That’s what it means to be faithful…even to death.  I get it now.  His blood won’t wash off.  It was shed for us.  He LET THEM do this…for us.  For me…so that I would know beyond a doubt that God knows what it is to be human.  These Romans might do the same to all of us, but now I know that no matter what this life throws at me, God is with us…even to death.   God never left me.  In my anger and grief, I left God.  Oh, my God, please forgive me.  I didn’t understand.  This is a King I can follow.  THIS is a King I can lay MY life down for.

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