26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26
The eighth station of the cross is that Simon helps carry the cross of Christ. There is very little said about Simon in the Gospels except for this verse, that he was chosen to carry the cross. There is much room for speculation on why this happened, and why Luke recorded specifically that Simon carried the cross behind Jesus. What we do know about Simon is that he came from a region of northern Africa and that his two sons, which are mentioned by name in the scripture, were later recorded as being missionaries for the cause of Christ in church tradition. Simon himself is considered to be one of the first bishops in the catholic tradition and is recorded to have died a martyr for Christ via crucifixion around 100 AD.
One of the most blatant pictures that this station paints for us as believers, is the significance of Jesus’s words to take up our cross and follow Him if we want to be His disciple. While we don’t know the exact reason Simon was chosen from the crowd, it was certainly not an expected moment. He was in Jerusalem with his sons to celebrate the feast of the Passover, and now caught in the crowd surrounding Jesus as He carried His cross to Golgotha, Simon was grabbed out of the crowd and told to shoulder the cross. There are no specifics on why someone was pulled from the crowd to carry the cross but Matthew Henry suggests that it was because the Roman soldiers saw Jesus about to die from the burden of carrying the cross and they were so worried that He wouldn’t actually make it to be crucified and what this might mean for their own lives.
In our lives, we never know when the moment might come that we are called to something that is painful to us but is perfectly in the will of God. Part of trusting in the sovereignty of God is knowing that God is in full control over everything that happens.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, – Ephesians 1:11
At times God’s will for our lives may be painful, it may be difficult, it may even seem like we cannot physically take any more, but understanding God’s goodness, and His love, allows us to lean on Him through it all, and submit wholly to His will and His will alone. What happens may not make sense to us right now, but someday when God’s plan unfolds we will understand. Jesus showed up perfect submission to the Father’s will, in His path to the cross. We are called to shoulder our cross and follow behind His example in perfect submission to the will of the Father for He is good!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! – Psalm 118:1
Father, as we continue following the path Your own Son walked to the cross, I pray that we can follow His example. Lord that when trials come and we experience both the good and the bad in our lives, that we can point to You and say that You are sovereign and we place our trust in You alone. That You lift us up and strengthen us through Your spirit and that we submit wholly and completely to Your will alone. That we gladly bear the cross and follow after Christ. We love You and thank You for Your goodness, Your mercy, and Your kindness to each of us. In the name of Jesus. Amen