Jesus’ beaten and wounded body was exhausted from continuous beatings. His flesh was a mass of blood and torn flesh, along with the spit spewing from His accusers mouths. His trek along the via dolorosa included carrying the instrument of His death. He’d gone through hours of interrogation, false accusation and bitter pain. The weight of the cross must’ve been almost more than He could bear.
The Roman guards were anxious to get this over with, so they pulled a man from the crowd to carry the cross. His name was Simon of Cyrene, Lybia. Many Jews from Cyrene were part of a community in Jerusalem called the Synagogue of the Freedmen. Either he was a permanent resident or he had made the journey to attend the Passover Feast. This man was ordered to carry the cross – to speed things up – to get it over with.
Did Simon do so willingly? Did he realize who Jesus was? Could he recognize Him as the promised Messiah or was this just another religious fanatic? Whatever was going through Simon’s mind, he carried the cross to the place of Jesus’ death.
Mark 16:24-26 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
As we travel to Golgotha with Jesus, it becomes apparent that being a follower of Christ isn’t going to be an easy road. There will be stumbling blocks along the way, but to live for Jesus will always mean gain for us. Our eternal life depends on it.