By Steve Logan
A LARGE CROWD TRAILED BEHIND, INCLUDING MANY GRIEF-STRICKEN WOMEN. [LUKE 23:27]
The crowd was following Jesus. Actually, they were following a man named Simon who was following Jesus. But Simon was not following Jesus for the same reason as the rest of the crowd. By seeming misfortune, Simon, who had just wandered in from the countryside, had been grabbed by the soldiers and forced to carry Jesus’ cross all the way to the place where Jesus was to be crucified.
The passage doesn’t say why Simon had been singled out. All it says is that he was from Cyrene, in Northern Africa. Perhaps he looked different than the other people in the crowd, or he was appeared fit and strong, and was thus a noticeable target. Or maybe, being an out-of-towner, he made the mistake of asking someone in too loud a voice what was going on. Can you imagine the awkwardness he would have felt as a sudden nervous hush fell over the crowd and all eyes, including those of the soldiers, turned toward him?
Although the passage says there were many grief-stricken women in the following crowd, surely there were also many of the same people who had called for his crucifixion. It must have been an uncomfortable mix of tempers and emotions.
Today, we have the benefit of reading about what happened on the way to Golgotha and knowing that the story of Jesus not only didn’t end that day, but that the best part was still to come! Perhaps by the time Simon handed that heavy cross over to the soldiers he felt honored to have been chosen to carry it. Perhaps he felt fortunate indeed!
QUESTION TO CONSIDER
Would you have volunteered to carry the cross?
Lord, thank you for your Good News!