Simon of Cyrene

While reading today about the crucifixion of Jesus in Matthew one man seems to stick out. That man is Simon of Cyrene. He’s not part of Jesus’ disciples at this point, he’s not a Roman soldier, he’s not even one of those condemned to die. This man also is referenced in Mark as the father of Rufus and Alexander. This must mean that Rufus and Alexander were important to the early church and well known to Mark’s audience in Rome. Paul later in his letter to the Romans, mentions a man named Rufus in his salutations. It’s easy to conjecture that these two may be the same individual. When looking at it this way, we must say, “oh what a difference it must’ve made on the life of Rufus that his father helped carry the cross of Jesus.” However Simon didn’t volunteer to carry the cross of Jesus, he was compelled or in other words requisitioned to carry the cross. The Roman soldiers just saw Simon as another Jew (albeit one who was from Cyrene in Libya, Africa) just a face in the crowd; someone who looked strong enough to carry the cross of Jesus. He would carry behind Jesus that latter portion of the cross that otherwise would be dragging the ground. Simon really didn’t have a choice in the matter but he was there. If it really was the father of the same Rufus mentioned in the book of Romans, it helps us realize that we can make a difference sometimes for those who are around us just by being there. By being there in church, being there in the lives of others, and just being there to do the work and will of God. Let’s look around us and see what kind of impact we make on our children, on our loved ones, and community. Are we really doing something that will leave a lasting impression on them? Something like being the one who also took up the cross of Jesus Christ. What’s your legacy today?

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