Some of the most significant spiritual lessons are learned from the most unlikely people. Such is the case with the story of Simon of Cyrene. We know very little about this figure who, like a small drop in a giant bucket of water, could easily go unnoticed. But what we do know about Simon should be enough to draw us in close and to draw great encouragement from, especially during these long and uncertain days. I believe Simon has much to teach us on what it means to follow Jesus in the great interruptions of life.
(Read Luke 23:26)
So what do we have here in this little story? We have a tiny little snapshot of one great big interruption. Here’s the story of a man whose plans for the day and dreams for his visit to Jerusalem were completely interrupted and disrupted. This is a story that reminds us that we are not as in control of our circumstances and the times of our lives as we think we are. It’s a story that reminds us that life is so precarious—it’s unpredictable.
I mean, just like Simon, here we are seemingly minding our own business, going about our daily life, and what happens? A million things can happen: cars break down, our health breaks down, the unexpected accident or diagnosis. And now here we are in one of the great interruptions in modern day history where so many of our plans and dreams and itineraries have been stalled, altered, or canceled altogether. So, what do we do? How do we respond to the great interruptions of life?
This is where I believe Simon of Cyrene can teach us a great deal. There are some key spiritual lessons that we can draw out from this little story, but first I need to paint the scene. I need to give you what, almost every scholar believes, ...
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