Simon, the Cross Bearer|
Author’s note: This story is mostly fiction. We have no real history on Simon, who was pressed into service to bear the cross of Jesus, or how it affected his life. This is simply my take on what that might have meant to him at the time.
(Mat 27:32) As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.
“I had no idea who this man was that was being led up the hill. All I knew is that a Roman soldier said, ‘Hey, you, carry this,’ the man was bloody, I could tell he had been beaten nearly beyond recognition, and he wore an odd sort of crown, that was made of thorns. His blood was dripping everywhere, down his face, his body, onto the ground as they made their way with him up the hill, mostly carrying him as he was too weak to walk. I watched the blood, trickle down the hill, as I followed, with the beam they had pressed into my hands. The crowd was shouting, at first I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but it soon became evident. ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ He wore a robe of purple they had thrown over him, it too was soaked with his blood. Someone stepped out of the crowd and tried to give him something to drink, it smelled of vinegar, but he refused. At the top of the hill, the soldiers grabbed the beam out of my hands and shoved me out of the way. You don’t say no to a Roman soldier.”
“They nailed him to the beam, and then the beam to the tree on the hill, forming a cross. I heard his agony as they drove the nails through his hands and feet. The crowd was still chanting, harsh and angrily, ‘Crucify him!’ I still knew nothing about what he had done to these people to make them so angry. Then the soldiers put up a sign that read, ‘Jesus, King of the Jews.’ Could this be the reason? I am not a very religious man but I knew a little of God, their God.”
“I made my way down the hill, through the crowds and I noticed some men standing, huddled in a corner, weeping. You could just feel their heartbreak. With three men hanging on the trees on the hill, at first I didn’t know who they were grieving for, but then one of them spoke. ‘This is what he meant by I will leave you. Oh Lord, why could we not see? Pray our eyes be open to what you want us to do next.’ I inched closer, trying to hear over the crowd’s ugly chants. ‘These people Lord, why are they doing this to you? Don’t they know who you are?’ Although I still wondered who this was, I was know realizing they were talking about the one who’s cross I had carried. Who was this man they grieved over?”
“My mind made up, I approached the men and asked, ‘who was he to you?’” Immediately the men grew fearful and started to close ranks.
“I mean you no harm, I was just pressed into service to carry his cross. I don’t know who he was or why the crowd is so angry at him. One of the men stepped forward, as the sky began to darken. ‘He is the son of God, He lived out the prophecy in scripture, but these people, His own people, deny Him and call Him a blasphemer.’
“Astonished, I could only stare, back up at the hill, at the cross, which was now shadowed by the sky getting darker by the minute. I turned back to the men, mouth agape.” (Mat 27:45) Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
“Even from the crowd I could hear Him utter his last words, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”
They looked at each other, then at me. “He is gone now,” one of the men explained, “let us go and we will tell you more.”
I gladly accepted their invitation and followed them to a home, which they explained, they had eaten dinner with this man, three days prior.
“They told me about Jesus, the man who had just been crucified, how He had come to them and rescued them from a life of no worth, and changed them to be worthy in His eyes, the eyes of the Son of God. They told me of His healings of thousands of people and of His teachings of love. They told me about how He called out the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and robbing of the poor. They told me, amidst tears of love and grief, of His tenderness for the widows and children. They told me that He had warned them of what was to come, but they didn’t understand, but they also told me that He had told them he would return to them in three days time. Do you believe that He can do that?”
They all looked at each other. “If he can do all the things that we have witnessed so far, there is no extent to what Jesus can do.”
“What must I do to believe?”
One of the men, who called himself Peter answered, “If you are asking, you already do. Stay with us and witness what is to come over the next few days.”
“I did. I followed them as they ran to the tomb after hearing from the women that the tomb was empty. We were all awestruck and amazed, especially after hearing the soldiers tell tales of dead men rising from graves that were torn open, and one of the priests yelling about the veil in the temple being torn, from top to bottom. I followed them to fish and to meet the man that I had just witnessed dying on the cross telling them to put their nets back in the water. I saw them gasp when they saw the scars in His hands and feet. Most importantly, I felt the love when he looked at me among them and nodded. I could tell He knew that I had wanted no part in his crucifixion, but had been pressed into service. This man, this Jesus, could be no other than the Son of God, and I wished to know Him better.”
“When Jesus rose again into the heavens, I stood with the men, tears falling from the loss I was feeling. When I looked around at these men that had been His brothers and students, I could tell they were feeling the same way, but the all had smiles on their faces, amidst the tears. Why are you smiling? Again, it was Peter who answered.”
“We will meet Him again one day, whether it is here on Earth when he returns to take us home, or when we die to be with Him. He has promised to send us a comforter and I believe that He will.”
“I finally figured out what I was missing all this time, hope. The hope that Peter had just told me of, this Jesus, returning to us or us returning to Him. Now I have to go tell everyone!! I can’t hold this in!!”
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