A Man Passing Through the Crowd

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Mark 15:21 (NKJV)
Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.
As we look into the scripture this morning I want to point out a very important fact that is mentioned. Simon was just a man that happened to be passing by. Simon was coming out of the country and simply passing by. He had no intention of getting involved in the crucifixion of Jesus. The Roman soldiers compelled him, they did not ask him they told him.
It made me think about times in my life that I was pushed into things that I really had no interest in or plans to do that certain thing.
I coached youth sports for a few years and in a way was roped in to the experience. So as a good dad I always looked for those dads that were always inserting there opinion or coaching their kid from the sidelines of the practice field. So I would approach them and in a way wrangle them into coaching. Of course they didn’t have to but I gently compelled them.
Taking part in these experiences as a coach had good moments and not so good moments but in the end it was one of the most fulfilling things I did and the dads that I “gently compelled” to take part in that journey experienced great joy.
This morning we are going to look into Simon a Cyrenian that was simply passing through and found himself compelled to take part in giving relief to the body of Jesus by helping carry the cross to the place of the skull which ultimately carried Simon to the source of real life.

Sometimes our purpose is not what God’s reason is.

As I read this scripture it came to apparent that Simon was not much different than any of us here. It is most probable that Simon was a member of a local church. And possibly a devout Jew.
Acts 6:9 (NKJV)
Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.
It is possible that his presence in Jerusalem was showing his commitment to the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Or maybe he was just a guy that had left home early that morning to run some errands in town.
Let us keep in mind that Simon was just passing through. In other words he was not caught up in the mob that had been pursuing Jesus from Pilate’s palace to Calvary that was caught up in the emotion.
He was a man that simply was there to accomplish something not to take part in something. No ulterior motive. This reveals a glimpse into his character.
Have you ever been that person, I am here to do what I have to do and get out.
I am here to do my job and go home.
I am going to Wal Mart and I have one purpose, to get a jug of milk.
You have no ill will against anyone but you have a purpose or as some of us say, a method to our madness.
The sooner I get what I came for, the sooner I can get back home.
Irregardless of his purpose for being there. God had a reason.

Sometimes our purposeful journey is interrupted by circumstances that are not of our own choosing.

I have been on a journey to go get that jug of milk at the grocery store and all of the sudden I get interrupted. Now this interruption is completely out of my control. I make the turn to go to the milk cooler and guess what… the one person that likes to talk is standing in front of the milk cooler.
Most of us know how that goes. Thirty minutes later and you still have not gotten your milk but you now you have been introduced to circumstances and burdens that you were not planning on.
In our scripture Simon is in the clutches of circumstance. He had made his way to Jerusalem and came to the very spot that he had never imagined.
Think about Simon. He was not in the midst of the mob or even really concerned with the situation. But his life was interrupted.
Our own decisions can lead to interruptions in our journey.
Many of us have made decisions that have led us to circumstances that were not the best. And sometimes...
Someone else’s decisions can lead to an interruption in our journey.
Sometimes we find ourselves tangled in the web of someone else’s decision.
We understand that the crucifixion of Jesus was prophesied and would happen. And that Jesus was going to the cross to pay for all of humanities sins even Simon the Cyrene.
But in the moment Simon was the guy that had his day taken off schedule.
We can learn a critical lesson from this.
It is wrapped up in this quote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
The decision of the day pulled a person into the midst of a circumstance made by others.
But if we look into scripture we can find a great assurance for all people that have to deal with burdens of all kinds.
Matthew 11:28 NKJV
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
In Vietnam a grenade exploded near Max Cleland, causing the loss of both legs and an arm. He courageously faced this tragic circumstance and in 1977 was made head of the Veteran’s Administration. Cleland testified, “There is help from God when we need it most.” And he closed many of his speeches and interviews with this prayer written during the Civil War and by a Civil War soldier.
Confederate soldier I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey ... I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things ... I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise ... I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God ... I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I was given life, that I might enjoy all things ... I got nothing I asked for—but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among men, most richly blessed”
With Christ we can conquer the circumstances of Life. (Romans 8:37)

Interruptions can become the greatest blessings.

There have been many thoughts as to if a conversation between Jesus and Simon took place as they made their way to Calvary. Many have asked did this moment in Simon the Cyrene’s life change anything.
I want to call your attention to: Romans 16:13
Romans 16:13 NKJV
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
If you recall one of Simon’s sons was named Rufus. And both Rufus and Alexander are mentioned.
Is this Simon’s son? Is this scriptural evidence that Simon converted and established a Christian home that nurtured to Christian boys who became leaders in the Christian Church? I think so!
Think about what Simon witnessed:
He heard Jesus pray:
Luke 23:34 NKJV
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Simon saw Jesus willingly give himself, and slowly the hope of the prophets dawned into reality.-
Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Things started to make sense.


Arthur Blessit, chaplain of Sunset Strip, California carried a 90 lb. cross across America and many countries of the world. Speaking at a national conference, he related how he had carried the cross across newly opened border between Israel and Egypt soon after the historic Camp David peace treaty was signed. The Arab commander at the border asked for a piece of his cross.
Mark 8:34 NKJV
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Today you may view yourself as someone that is just passing through or maybe just a person in the crowd. You may have a jeweled cross around your neck.
What does that cross mean to you?
Have you taken up the cross?
The way of the cross leads to forgiveness of sins, abundant life, and the defeat of death.
Simon of Cyrene a man passing through found this amazing hope in the cross.
So can you!
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