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.
And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.
Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.
And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.
The soldiers mocked Jesus as He struggled to carry the cross to Golgotha. They forced Simon (a derivation of ‘Simeon’, meaning ‘hearing’) to take the burden of that cross. Simon, Alexander and Rufus are all introduced to us for the first time and their presence at this moment seems arbitrary — except that nothing in the Bible is without significance.
Simon was ‘coming out of the country’, and it is my belief that God led Simon to be there at that very moment and for an amazing purpose. There is a Bible principle that ‘the name is the nature’, and in Simon we should see that he had spiritual hearing, guiding him to perform that service for Jesus. And his coming out of the country gives us the insight that he was a man who worked the land, strong and able, willing to get a job done in adverse conditions.
Simon’s son’s names mean ‘man-defender’ and ‘red’ respectively, and it could be that their mention — there is nothing to indicate that they were present at the time — is to confirm Simon as, first of all, a father with sons, but also as ‘ defender’, someone who would not like to see injustice. But why ‘red’? The most common attribute for the colour red in Scripture is to indicate ‘the blood of Jesus, or the lamb.’ Other uses of the name Rufus suggest redemption, salvation, love of Christ and the atonement — the very things that Jesus was on the point of bringing to pass, except that His physical body was failing Him. Father God brought help.
Simon the Cyrenian, performs an invaluable service to our Lord — at the (literally) crucial moment — enabling the bringing of God’s plan to fruition. It also shows that the insignificant one can be of great significance, when acting for The LORD; an encouragement for each one of us in His service.
Simon got Jesus to Golgotha — the place of the Skull. Significantly, the skull houses the mind, and forms a protective shell around it. The soldiers could kill the body, but not the mind. They merely divided up His clothes, the earthly things of no importance. They looked to the earth and crucified The King of Kings, but knew it not.
ADDENDUM: It occurred to me after posting this meditation, that Simon’s sons represent his inheritance, the continuing of his seed beyond his own earthly experience, and thus, in the spiritual realm they speak of his inheritance in Christ for his faithfulness in hearing God’s direction. That inheritance is redemption, salvation and the love of Jesus by the blood of the Lamb.
‘Meditate on these things…’
Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.
And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
AT THE CROSS — Chris Tomlin
A HOLY COMMAND: Oswald Chambers on LOVE
GEORGE and GILL STEWART