Matthew 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
The cross was a symbol of sin, and death: a terrible sign of cruelty and rejection. Our Lord Jesus carried the cross, but He was too weak to continue. His physical strength was gone as he underwent a sleepless night of interrogation, merciless beatings, without nourishment and help. As He walked down the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Suffering), He fell beneath the load of the cross. A man by the name of Simon, was compelled to (forced to) bear Christ’s cross. Was it a blessing to carry the cross that day for Simon? Or was it just a duty? No one enjoys being placed in a position of coercion, but all things work for God when the Lord is involved. Notice the blessings in this situation:
He was able to identify with the Son of God
Being a Christian does not just mean enjoying the privileges of being a child of God, it involves also the pathway of suffering and trials. Peter says
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1 Peter 4:12
Yet, when we suffer because of the word of God and the Gospel, when we are ridiculed because we are Christians, we have the privilege of being identified with our blessed Lord. Many, when they see a famous politician or a popular personality, may want to report to others that they are associated to them. We as Christians ought to be encouraged that we are identified with Christ.
He was able to minister to the Son of God
As Simon bore His cross, nothing was said between Simon and the Saviour as they were walking down the road to the Cross. Yet, Simon, by bearing the cross for the Lord Jesus, served Him. In the times of His weakness and trouble, our Saviour accepted the ministry of a human being, and it was a blessing to Him. Is it not true that in times of sufferings, words may fail us, but the presence of an individual (silent though he may be) is a great encouragement.
He was blessed just to be beside the Saviour
The presence of our Lord brings joy and blessings. We would rather be bearing the cross of our dear Saviour, then to be standing with the crowd cursing Him. We would rather do the meanest tasks on earth, rather than dwelling with wicked men. We would rather be despised as our Saviour was, then to dwell in tents of wickedness. To be in the presence of the Saviour involves praying, reading His word and allowing Him to change us from the inside.
Dear Christian, do you identify with Christ as a Christian? Are you serving Him daily? Realise that you are blessed when you are in presence of your risen Lord.
May this be our personal prayer,
“Heavenly Father, carrying the cross is a joy, never a burden for me. For on it, You bore my sins. May I ever walk beside you till the day I see your wonderful face!”
Evangelist-Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church