SIMON, THE CYRENE
BY: CHARLES W. WELLER
Simon the Cyrene was a Hellenistic Hebrew. He came to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. Many of the foreign religious Hebrews would return each year to celebrate the three feasts: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Many would come for just one feast, but most would arrive for the most important feast, the Passover.
Simon came from North Africa and was a Greek Hebrew. He was a holy man, and we know that he would not have come so far if he weren’t a religious man seeking the blessing of God. It is out of this background that we see some depths of God in this man. As the Gospels proclaim, Christ our Passover was slain for us during the time of this gathering of Hebrews. Paul proclaims that Christ became our Passover Lamb, thus fulfilling the feast (1 Cor. 5:7). In fulfilling the laws of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ established a better covenant for us. It became a covenant of grace and not one of laws of do’s and don’ts.
By fulfilling the laws of the Old Testament, Jesus also fulfilled many of the prophesies of the prophets. It was in the process of completing his service to the Father that Simon the Cyrene was thrust into the service of the King of Kings. Their meeting was not happenstance, but rather part of the very counsel of God from before the ages began. Although unknown to Simon, he was to have a part in the lessening of the burden and agony of the Lord Jesus Christ. In three references the scriptures show that Simon the Cyrene bore Jesus’ cross the entire length of the way from the Pretorium to Golgotha. (Matt.27:32, Mk.15:21, Lk.23:26)
It is possible that Simon might have seen Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before. He might have thought that this was the very deliverer the faithful were looking for. However, on the day that he was called to carry the cross of the Christ, if he had thought such, it would have surely been eliminated from his mind by the circumstances of that day.
Simon can be seen as a type of the sons to us. Now all types do not hold perfectly true, but they are good for us to learn from (Rom.15:4, 1 Cor.10:6). So here was a man, along with many other faithful Hebrews, who were keeping their religious days and fulfilling all the righteousness that they knew how to do. If for a moment we could envision the people as Christians all keeping the faith as the denominations have taught them. Simon was doing his part.
Then along came the soldiers under the direction of the religious leaders, and they were bringing out a man who had been deemed unsafe and blasphemous by the Jews. A crown of thorns was on His head and He had been severely whipped and beaten to a moment of His life. Seeing that Jesus was too weak to carry His own cross, the soldiers decided that it was necessary for an onlooker to carry it for Him.
Simon was plucked out of the crowd. Hear and understand! Simon was humiliated with the Christ. The leaders set him to follow Christ, bearing His cross as Christ led the way to Golgotha, the place of the skull.
If we think about this in reference to today, the full nature and wrath of the antichrist system can not be manifest until all the sons are cast out of the religious system, as Simon was separated forcefully from the rest of the faithful. It is the system that casts out the sons, for the system cannot receive the life that is in the sons. That life fully identifies them with the Christ. The system has its own priorities and definitions of righteousness, and therefore cannot receive a new word, just as they could not receive Jesus. He would have gathered them unto Himself as a hen gathers her chicks, but they would not.
Unbeknownst to Simon, he had been chosen by the soldiers to bear the cross. He may have thought that it was the soldiers who thrust him into such a situation, but it was the hand of God. God has always had and will have a group of people who will bear the cross of Christ willingly. They have been chosen by God from His creation of them. That particular day, not everyone could bear the cross of Christ, only Simon.
The cross was heavy to bear, and the way was hard. But he who is separated UNTO Jesus will always see Jesus walking before him. He will know that the way is bearable because Jesus has opened the door and prepared the way and He has been tried in all manner of things. Such encouragement must have enveloped Simon. For though the cross was heavy, he was always looking forward and beholding His Lord. It was this beholding of his Lord that made the cross bearable.
Those called to be sons do not glory in their calling but rather put their hand to the plow without looking back at the great accomplishments that the Lord did through them. They go forward, finishing that which the Lord has called them to do. Simon carried the cross out of obedience to the orders that were given to him. Jesus would have obedience rather than sacrifice. In the fulfilling of the duty out of obedience, one learns of love, peace, patience, joy and many other facets of the Father.
The system that teaches that God would want us to be prosperous and in health looks with derision at the sons carrying the cross. Laughter and catcalls are heard by those who bear the cross, and some would say that there is deception in carrying the cross. Oh, the pain and agony that Simon must have felt. Unable to explain his carrying of the cross and unable to explain what was being accomplished, Simon must have felt some of the anguish of the Lord. For even Jesus could not explain to the people that what He was doing was for their deliverance.
By all appearances Jesus and Simon were thoroughly misunderstood by the people that they walked by. But they were equally yoked in the performance of God’s will. Beloved, it is only the sons who can bear the cross of Jesus. It is only those called to Him, who are made conformable to His image, who are plucked out of the crowd of saints. They have been set apart to walk to a different sound than the others. They hear a sound of clarity and distinction that few can hear. Paul heard and understood, but those around him thought that they heard thunder.
Yet, in the midst of Babylon, which Jerusalem represents to those called out of the harlot system, the man Simon and Jesus did walk. There is today a witness that is seen, leading the way out of Babylon and its corruption. The saints see it and know that it leads to the cross, but they laugh and taunt those who desire to set aside their carnality, that soulish mind, in order to possess Him in a fullness. The normal saint wants to sow in order to reap, but this is usually on the corrupt lower plane of earthly blessings. Those called to bear the cross are receiving the very LIFE of God as they march out of Jerusalem and unto the mount of Calvary.
Just as the Jews murdered Christ, so too today the religious system is attempting to kill those who walk differently or disagree with the theology of a certain church. It shall not come to pass as they have planned, for the sons bear their cross to the beloved Calvary that they might be changed into the image of Christ, of Him who led them there. Derision, misunderstanding, pain and the burden of the cross drive the sons on to Calvary, even as Simon continued all the way.
Just like Simon, the sons carry the cross to Calvary, but that is all that they do. For at Calvary their cross and its weight have done the work, and the sons receive that which they have held before them – the image of Christ – which is made manifest in their lives. As they went along the way, the working of death to the carnal nature has been replaced with the life that raised Christ from the cross.
Simon who bore the earthly cross truly represents the sons who bear a spiritual cross. Their identity with Christ is total. Their message is not well received as Jesus’ was not. The people of Jesus’ time would listen to Him when He gave them the desires of their flesh nature. They wanted an earthly king who would give them food, clothing and protection. Even today the church, like Israel of old, cries out for the same thing. When Christ tried to minister from a spiritual level, the people could not receive it. But as long as Jesus ministered on the earthly plane of healing, provisions, etc., the people enjoyed the Lord.
As the sons in this hour begin to minister a word of life that is a spiritual word, few there are that desire it. Many are the ministers that reveal Christ on the earth plane in healings, deliverances and prosperity, but those called to be a Simon must bear a cross.
SIMON, THE CYRENE [Charles W. Weller] 1