Sunday, April 5, 2009

Simon's Unexpected Encounter with God...

I positively LOVE IT when I go to church and come away with a brand new thought or insight!! Today's message was about Simon. Simon is the dude whom the guards forced to carry Jesus' cross. Mark 15:21 says, "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on the way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross."

I guess I hadn't really paid a lot of attention to the verses about Simon. Sure, I knew the Roman guards grabbed a guy off the streets and made him carry the cross, most likely because Jesus' body and strength was failing from the beatings he had endured. But I guess I'd always just assumed Simon was part of the crowd watching the whole event. I assumed he was one of the many people who came to Jerusalem for Passover.

But the way Mark tells the account, Simon had basically just arrived in town from the country. He probably didn't have a clue what was going on. It doesn't appear that he was there for Passover, since the Feast of Unleavened Bread had already taken place. It appears, at least in my mind, that Simon just happened to be there at that particular moment in time. Just a coincidence? Hmm.

So, since Simon was simply minding his own business and going about his life, do you think he expected to have a major encounter with God??

I seriously doubt it!

Do you think Simon's life was changed by this event?

I seriously think so! How could he not be changed! I imagine he carried that cross to Golgotha and stuck around to see what would happen next. He probably wondered, "Who is this Jesus? And what's up with all these people, some shouting and some crying?" He, like most everyone who witnessed the event, was probably more than a little frightened when the sky went dark and the earth shook to the point of breaking rocks (Matthew 27:51).

We don't hear about Simon anymore, but one of his son's may have become a leader in the Church. Paul writes in Romans 16:13, "Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too." If this is in fact the same Rufus whose father was Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus' cross, then you can well imagine how great Simon's life was affected by the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!! His wife, Rufus' mother, became a mother-figure to Paul!

Ya still think Simon's role in this whole "Passion Play" could have just been a coincidence? I sure don't!

You simply can't know when you're going to have a life-changing encounter with God!! And we all need one, that's for certain! Our eternal hope depends on it!

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