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Simon of Cyrene "the black man in Jesus Life"
Men’s Salvation was planned and executed by GOD
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)
…by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene…there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved…(Acts 4:10,12)
…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…(1 Timothy 1:15)
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…(1 Timothy 2:5)
For his plan GOD carefully selected each individual involved for a specific role, in this drama; the bible tells us that “no one leave of a tree moves without God’s intervention”.
While studying the bible I always questioned, better said, I always had curiosity to investigate the reason why some of the people of the bible were intensely described, like David, Esther Ruth they have complete chapters on their lives, some other were merely mentioned, such was the case for Simon of Cyrene…then I realized that Simon of Cyrene was there at the pick of the drama, where…the main actor is JESUS..He the son of GOD, he GOD himself, who came to us to make us understand the will of GOD the father…any other actor involved in the Plan also had a specific role transcending into history forever and ever. Simon’s role was one of that, he was barely mentioned in his passage through Jerusalem, except for those few hour with Jesus, those sad moments of indecision and especially the moment of decision to accept Jesus cross, became an example for men’s’ living throughout the centuries, he was saved and we gain a model on how accept the cross of Jesus, to be saved. That day of Jesus crucifixion only Jesus can tell us…-Why was Simon in Jerusalem? Why Simon of Cyrene became the man selected to enter history as the man who helped Jesus to carry his cross to Golgotha? Why was not Simon a Jew? Why was he a Negro from Cyrene today called Libya? I think I know…and I asked Jesus, if I have to tell the story how would I tell it…he said tell it like it was..…..like I tell you!
It was almost time for the Passover festival and Simon planned his journey to be in Jerusalem to be part of this ancient ritual feast with his family.
-Simon, led a caravan trafficking in goods collected from local farmers and people from Cities and towns bordering the Arabian Desert. They traveled from town to town to sell their crops or anything else they could find at each town marketplace. This day. The caravan people picked up their products early because it was the eve of Passover, Simon planned to spend the night in Jerusalem with relatives and in his way to Cana some 30 miles away from Jerusalem, taking his two sons Alexander (13) and Rufus (9) back to their house in Cana to join Desire his wife and the mother of Alexander and Rufus. Although the sun was shining, the atmosphere was dense, He sensed that something was about to happen. There were too many people in the streets. People talking, exited, some arguing about whether ‘the man about to be crucified was innocent or guilty, by the tone in people’s voices it seemed that they thought he had it coming. I must say, that there was also another group of people who were clearly upset. In fact, some of the women were in tears, really concern, really crying..
. - Simon joining the crowd as people starting to line up along the street. He saw several Roman soldiers pushing the people aside to make ways, and he heard people in the street shouting and verbally abusing someone. It got louder as the crowd slowly made its way down the street towards Simon.
.- Simon’s curiosity got the better of him. He pushed his way into the crowd walking toward the front of the crowd to get a closer look at what was going on, he was really curious, he wanted to see the person receiving so much abuse. It was a beautiful day, but the ugly mood of the crowd was such a contrast to the blue sky and cool breeze. Simon asked a man standing next to him, what was the matter? who was Jesus of Nazareth? Why was him arrested?, why condemned by the Jewish Council and then taken to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. The man told Simon how earlier Pilate asked the crowd whom they wanted to see punished, Jesus or the criminal Barabbas. Simon notice this man was really moved by the event, even though he looked Jewish he did not hesitated in speaking to Simon, telling him how the crowd had called out for the crucifixion of this Jesus. Then Simon asked the man next to him what he had done to deserve such treatment, the man said, he didn’t really know he said I followed Jesus for sometime and nothing he had ever done deserve to be punished, and specially like this..
Well anyway, as the Roman soldiers passed where he was standing, Simon looked at this man so badly beaten and bleeding. They must have used one of those dreadful whips that tear into the flesh, ripping off the skin, and the muscle all the way to the bone. Jesus was covered in blood, and what’s more, he was carrying a cross, that terrible instrument of torture and death that the Romans used so often. It not only looked heavy and awkward to carry but its roughness and splinters must have dug into Jesus raw skin as he dragged it along the street and every bump in the rough road must have ripped into his flesh.
.- Jesus walked unsteadily under the load of his cross. It was clear he had no strength left. He fell to his knees a few times and every time he fell the crowd laughed louder and mocked him all the more. Some others cried with him yielded at his passing, yet every time he fell down, the soldiers poked his bleeding flesh with the butt of their spears.
.- Some of the soldiers guarding the way across the multitude in their way to the hills of Golgotha realized that Jesus was not able to make it there. He needed help. Marcus the chief of the centurion looked among the crowd and saw this tall, strong, strapping dark man, Simon from Cyrene who was standing there accompanied by his two sons Alexander and Rufus who made their ways to the front of mob; Marcus ordered another one of his centurions Puvlio to pick Simon and instance him to come over, Puvlio walking toward Simon said- hey...! You “the Negro man! You… come help him carry his cross, don’t you heard me!... Now!!,… come here now!!,… several other soldiers ran toward Simon and grabbed and pushed him towards Jesus.
Some even argue that the Romans wouldn’t have asked a Jew to carry the cross because it was Passover and simply by carrying the cross he would be defiled and would be unable to participate in Passover. You might ask why the Romans would even care, but they had orders not to interfere with the religious practices of the Jews. If this holds true then Simon could have been a black man….a non-Jewish
.- Whether it was compassion for the victim or simply a matter of getting the job done, we tend to think it was more of the latter than the former, confused Simon looked around…Antony, another one of the guards pulled Simon out of the crowd, rather roughly I might add, and pushed him toward JESUS, again and again, but Simon was large and robust, not easy to drag around if he resisted .
.- Imagine Simon’s reluctance to get involved. Simon had come to Jerusalem to spend the Passover; home in Cana with his strange wife. He had come to talk things over with her. He had plenty on his mind, and also he was not alone there…he was in his way home with his two children and for the sake of their children, he wanted no part on this issue, no… he didn’t want to get involved with carrying the cross of some stranger who had obviously done something to upset not only the Romans, but also the locals. The soldier approached him again…Simon protested – not to have any part in all of this. To be truthful, the Roman soldier wasn’t offering him a choice. He was telling him, commanding him, to pick up the cross and get going, Simon had absolutely no sympathy for the Roman soldiers. He could not see eye to eye with them. They always talk to Negro people like Simon as they owned them, or as he was a beast to carry move from here to there something for them.
.- Puvlio the, Roman soldier moves onto him again with arrogance pushed him over again. He was concern, upset and afraid for his children, they could get lost among the great multitude of people following step by step the passing of Jesus. The Roman soldier try to explain to him what he wanted him to do.
.- Simon’s children. Alexander and Rufus, kept themselves as close as they could to their father Simon, they questioned their father about what he was going to do, Simon hash them up and asked them to be where he could see them.. Although crucifixion became the traditional manner in which the Romans punished non-Romans prisoners. The boys had never before seen a crucifixion and like all children they were curious, and scared. Their father could not explain to them why at that time and especially under his circumstances, because the Passover celebration was approaching the Jews and the Roman needed the executing these three persons quickly.
They needed to rush everything to finish before the eve of the holy day, so they needed the help right away. Some other Negro people from Simon caravan gathered close to Simon and his kids. Simon became more concern yet of a revolt…he thought about his children. He had no time to talk to them neither could he explain to his children why the man called Jesus was bleeding and wearing a crown of thorns. Simon and his children were away for days. They did not know what had happened that morning in town..
.- Simon, looked at the bleeding man, yet he continues to hesitate, and tried to avoid the happening, he moved backward and tried to fade away; Simon instant the guard to leave him alone and to pick on someone else…. but…his eyes encountered Jesus eyes…and he could not move nor walked away… he was bordered in his soul and decided to come forward. He came out and looked at JESUS bleeding face and encountered his piercing eyes once again …he came closer to Jesus now by his own volition, and moving his body next to Jesus, he whispered in Jesus ears, Jesus… master here I am Lord, I heard you calling, I am here… if you need me. And moving his body under the cross of Jesus, Simon heard the Lord saying to him “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. “Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your spirit, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Simon came closer to the Lord and pressed his body against Jesus body accepting to take his cross. The large and heavy log rested on Simon’s strong back. Simon was afraid but his fear disappeared at the touch of Jesus, his strength increased, he glanced at his children who followed them closed by, and saw a group of Angels keeping them. He rested on the Lord.
This is one episode from E.Gibbons (tiaElsa) book "Simon of Cyrene the Black man in Jesus Life"