Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Unexpected Cross

Simon was in Jerusalem for Passover. He traveled a long way to fulfill lifetime dream but things did not turn out the way he expected. “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear [Jesus'] cross.” (Mark 15:21)

Jesus was exhausted and the soldiers had the right to compel anyone to carry a load for a mile. Simon just happened to be in the right place at the right time. God had a divine appointment with Simon that day.

Simon's divine appointment had an eternal impact. Until that moment Simon had just been a nameless bystander but, once he carried Christ’s cross, his life changed. We can never encounter the cross and remain unchanged. If we accept Christ, we are transformed, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Simon of Cyrene's encounter with Jesus transformed him and his family. Mark names Simon's sons, Alexander and Rufus, because they were known to early readers of his gospel. Paul gives a shout out to Rufus in his letter to the Romans, “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” (Romans 16:13)

Simon took the Gospel back to Cyrene where he led both his family and the Jewish community to Christ. Lucius of Cyrene was one of the founders of the church in Antioch. (Acts 13:1)

Like Simon, you might encounter God unexpectedly. Most things we long for never happen but the greatest joys can come unexpectedly and, sometimes, disguised as hardship.

When Simon took up the cross, he left a legacy for the church. Simon was changed forever by one simple act. Join Simon in carrying the cross of Christ.

No comments: