Luke 23:26
As the soldiers led Him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him to carry behind Jesus.
Bearing Christ's CrossH. Melvill, B. D.Luke 23:26
Compulsion and Invitation; the Human and the Divine MethodsW. Clarkson Luke 23:26
The Cross-BearerJ. T. Woodhouse.Luke 23:26
The Merciful Savior on the CrossR.M. Edgar Luke 23:26-46

Here we have an illustration of -

I. HUMAN VIOLENCE. "They laid hold upon" one Simon, and "him they compelled" (Matthew 27:32) to bear his cross. What right had these Roman soldiers to impress this stranger into their service? What claim had they upon him? By what law of rectitude did they arrest him as he was entering the city, and insist on his bearing a burden, and going whither he would not? What justified them in laying hands upon him and violently enforcing this service? None whatever; nothing whatsoever. It was only another instance of the unscrupulousness of human power. Thus has it been everywhere and always. Let men but feel that they have the mastery, that theirs is the more powerful mind, the firmer will, the stronger hand, and they will ask no leave, consult no law, be restrained by no consideration of conscience. The history of man, where not under special Divine direction, has been the history of the assertion of strength over weakness; that has been the course of national, of tribal, of family, of individual life. The strong man, well armed, has "laid hold upon" the weak man, and laid some burden upon him to carry. He has virtually said, "I can command your labor, serve me; if you refuse to do so, you shall pay some penalty of my own choosing." Human violence

(1) is essentially unrighteous, for it is based on no claim that can be properly so called;

(2) has been found to be shamelessly unmerciful;

(3) has been gradually, though slowly, subjected to the great rule of Christ (Matthew 7:12);

(4) is destined in time to make way for the rule of righteousness.

II. DIVINE PERSUASIVENESS. God does not compel us to serve him. He may, indeed, so wisely overrule all things as to make the life deliberately withheld from him or the action directed against him (e.g. the act of betrayal by Judas) contribute to the final issue; but he does not force the individual soul to serve him. Jesus Christ does not compel us to his service. It is true that his invitations have the authority of a command; but his commands have the sweetness of invitations.

1. He invites us to approach him and seek his favor. "Come unto me all ye that labor" is not a severe command; it is a most gracious invitation. "Whosoever believeth on me hath everlasting life" is not a peremptory injunction; it is a welcome and generous announcement. And while it is indeed true that Christ says, imperatively "Follow me!" it is also true that he does not force any one into his company; he makes his appeal to our conscience and conviction; he will not have any in his service who do not freely and whole-heartedly consent to come.

2. He graciously influences us, that we may see and follow the true light. Paul, indeed, does speak of Christ as "apprehending," or laying hold of, him (Philippians 3:12). But this referred to the very exceptional manifestation of his Divine power, and the language is strongly figurative. The Spirit of God does illumine our understanding and affect our heart; but he does not compel us to decide without the consent of our own will. In the last resort we have to "choose life" or death.

3. He summons us to a full discipleship by following him as one that bore a cross (Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24). He lets us know that we shall not meet with iris full approval if we do not bear the cross after him, if we do not follow him in the path of sacrificial love. But there is truest kindness, both of substance and manner, in this his urgent challenge.

4. He promises us inward rest here, and a large reward hereafter, if we do hear his voice and do thus follow him. Between human compulsion and Divine invitation or Divine constraint, there is exceeding breadth: the one is an intolerable tyranny; the other is essential righteousness, and introduces to true liberty, to spiritual rest, to abiding joy. - C.

Simon, a Syrenian.
There is a series of very beautiful pictures in the cathedral at Antwerp, which represent Christ hearing His cross from the Praetorium to Calvary. These pictures embody the popular idea of Christ's weakness and exhaustion. In one He stands calm and erect, in another He is bending under the weight of the cross, and in another He has fallen beneath the load that was laid upon Him. It is at this stage of the proceedings that Simon, who is passing by, is arrested, and compelled to bear the cross after Christ.

I. THIS WAS A COMPULSORY CROSS. Simon had no choice but to bear it. And so it is still. No life without a cross.

1. Suffering is a cross we are compelled to bear. To some life is a perpetual cross-bearing. It may be a physical cross, or a mental cross, or a spiritual cross, but day by day they must bear it.

2. Death is a cross we are compelled to bear.

3. Every attempt to follow Christ and to bear His cross will be a determined struggle.

II. THIS WAS AN UNEXPECTED CROSS. The trials we anticipate in life seldom overtake us, but those we least expect are laid upon us. The cross is often laid upon us at an unexpected time, and in an unexpected place; but there is no escape, it must be borne.

1. Sometimes the cross we bear is self. appointed. It is so with much of the physical pain and social distress we see around us. These afflictions come upon us unexpectedly, but they are often the fruit of our own folly and sin.

2. Sometimes the cross we bear is divinely appointed. If Simon's cross was unexpected, Christ's was foreseen. The cross was not a surprise to Christ. If Simon's cross was compulsory, Christ's was voluntary.

III. THIS WAS AN HONOURABLE CROSS. "To bear His cross." Had not Simon rendered this brief service to Christ, his name might never have been known; but now it shall be held in everlasting remembrance. The cross ennobles man both for time and eternity; it is an honourable cross.

1. This was a cross borne for Christ. We often hear of Christ bearing the cross for sinners, but here is a sinner bearing the cross for Christ. The value of the cross depends upon the spirit in which we take it up.

2. There is something very beautiful in the thought that the cross borne for Christ is borne with Christ. Whether it be His cross or ours, we share His companionship.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

The memorable thing is, that it is Christ's cross which must be borne. You are not to think that every cross is the cross which the Saviour requires you to take up. Many a cross is of our own manufacture; our troubles are often but the consequences of our own sins; and we may not dignify these by supposing them the cross which is to distinguish the Christian. Crosses they may be; but they are not the cross which was laid upon Simon, and which had first been borne by Christ. The cross of Christ is endurance for the glory of God and the futherance of the gospel. "This is thankworthy," says St. Peter, "if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." But our comfort is, that the cross which we must carry has been already carried by Christ; and therefore, like the grave which He entered, been stripped of its hatefulness. It might almost be said to have changed its very nature, through being laid on the Son of God; it left behind it its terribleness and oppressiveness. And now it is transferred to the disciple; it is indeed a cross, but a cross which it. is a privilege to bear — a cross which God never fails to give strength to bear; a cross which, as leading to a crown, may justly be prized, so that we would not have it off our shoulders until the diadem is on our brow. "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ" — and this is a cross — "happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." Together with this memorial, he would show, by a powerful instance, that in religion a temporizing policy is sure to defeat itself; so that, to fly from the cross is commonly to meet it dilated in size, and heavier in material. And he had one more truth to represent at the same time — the beautifully comforting truth, that He has borne what His followers have to bear, and thereby so lightened it, that as with death, which He made sleep to the believer, the burden but quickens the step towards an exceeding and eternal weight of glory; and that He might effectually convey all this through one great significative action, was it ordered, we may believe, in the providence of God, that as they led away Jesus carrying the cross, like Isaac with the wood for the burnt-offering, the soldiers laid hold on one Simon of Cyrene, and compelled him to bear the cross.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Barabbas, Herod, Jesus, Joseph, Pilate, Simon
Arimathea, Cyrene, Galilee, Golgotha, Jerusalem, Judea
Bear, Behind, Carry, Cross, Cyrenaean, Cyrene, Cyre'ne, Cyrenian, Field, Grabbed, Hands, Hold, Laid, Led, Placed, Seized, Shoulders, Simon, Taking
1. Jesus is accused before Pilate, and sent to Herod.
8. Herod mocks him.
12. Herod and Pilate become friends.
13. Barabbas is desired of the people,
24. and is released by Pilate, and Jesus is given to be crucified.
26. He tells the women, that lament him, the destruction of Jerusalem;
34. prays for his enemies.
39. Two criminals are crucified with him.
46. His death.
50. His burial.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Luke 23:26

     5127   back
     5281   crucifixion

Luke 23:24-37

     2525   Christ, cross of

Luke 23:26-31

     7240   Jerusalem, history

Luke 23:26-39

     2412   cross, accounts of

Luke 23:26-49

     7241   Jerusalem, significance

A Soul's Tragedy
'Then Herod questioned with Him in many words; but He answered him nothing.'--LUKE xxiii. 9. Four Herods play their parts in the New Testament story. The first of them is the grim old tiger who slew the infants at Bethlehem, and soon after died. This Herod is the second--a cub of the litter, with his father's ferocity and lust, but without his force. The third is the Herod of the earlier part of the Acts of the Apostles, a grandson of the old man, who dipped his hands in the blood of one Apostle,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

The Dying Thief
'And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.'--LUKE xxiii, 42. There is an old and true division of the work of Christ into three parts--prophet, priest, and king. Such a distinction manifestly exists, though it may be overestimated, or rather, the statement of it may be exaggerated, if it be supposed that separate acts of His discharge these separate functions, and that He ceases to be the one before He becomes the other. Rather it is true that all His work is prophetic,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

'The Rulers Take Counsel Together'
'And the whole multitude of them arose, and led Him unto Pilate. 2. And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King. 3. And Pilate asked Him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And He answered him and said, Thou sayest it. 4. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. 5. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people teaching
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Jesus and Pilate
'And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14. Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I having examined Him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse Him: 15. No, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him: and lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto Him. 16. I will therefore chastise Him, and release Him. 17. (For of necessity he must release one unto them
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Words from the Cross
'And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. 35. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God. 36. And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him and offering
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

The First Word
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." ST. LUKE XXIII. 34. 1. Here we are watching the behaviour of the Son of God, the Ideal and Ground of Divine Sonship in humanity. Is this supreme example of forgiveness an example to us? Is it not something unnatural to humanity as we know it? We must recall, from a former address, the distinction which we then drew between the animal in us, with its self-assertive instincts, and the Divine in us, that which constitutes us not animal merely,
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

The Second Word
"Verily I say unto thee, To-day thou shall be with Me in Paradise." ST. LUKE XXIII. 43. We judge of any power by the results which it effects. We gain some knowledge of the power of steam by its capacity to drive a huge mass of steel and wood weighing twenty thousand tons through the water at the rate of twenty knots an hour. There we have some standard by which we can gauge the force which sends our earth round the sun at twenty-five miles a second, or that which propels a whole solar system through
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

The Seventh Word
"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." ST. LUKE XXIII. 46. The consummation of sacrifice, the union of the human will with the Divine, leads to the perfect rest in God. 1. We have tried to deal with the Seven Words as constituting a revelation of the Divine Sonship of humanity. From this point of view it is significant that the first and the last begin, like the Lord's Prayer, with a direct address to the Father. The service of the Christian man is that of a son in his father's house, of
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

March the Twenty-Seventh the Silence of Jesus
"He answered him nothing!" --LUKE xxiii. 1-12. And yet, "Ask, and it shall be given you!" Yes, but everything depends upon the asking. Even in the realm of music there is a rudeness of approach which leaves true music silent. Whether the genius of music is to answer us or not depends upon our "touch." Herod's "touch" was wrong, and there was no response. Herod was flippant, and the Eternal was dumb. And I, too, may question a silent Lord. In the spiritual realm an idle curiosity is never permitted
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Saviour's Last Hours.
(Preached on Good Friday.) "Praise and thanks be to Him who lifted up the Saviour on the cross as the bringer of salvation, that thereby He might glorify Him with heavenly glory! Praise and honour be to Him who by His obedience even unto death has become the Author of our faith, that so He may be able, as a faithful high-priest, to represent before God those whom He is not ashamed to call His brethren. Amen." TEXT: LUKE xxiii. 44-49. THE habit of expecting to find great events accompanied by strange
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

The First Cry from the Cross
"Long as they live should Christians pray, For only while they pray they live." To cease from prayer is to renounce the consolations which our case requires. Under all distractions of spirit, and overwhelmings of heart, great God, help us still to pray, and never from the mercy-seat may our footsteps be driven by despair. Our blessed Redeemer persevered in prayer even when the cruel iron rent his tender nerves, and blow after blow of the hammer jarred his whole frame with anguish; and this perseverance
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 15: 1869

The Believing Thief
Remember, beloved friends, that our Lord Jesus, at the time he saved this malefactor, was at his lowest. His glory had been ebbing out in Gethsemane, and before Caiaphas, and Herod, and Pilate; but it had now reached the utmost low-water mark. Stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross, our Lord was mocked by a ribald crowd, and was dying in agony: then was he "numbered with the transgressors," and made as the offscouring of all things. Yet, while in that condition, he achieved this marvellous
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 35: 1889

Christ's Plea for Ignorant Sinners
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."--Luke 23:34. WHAT tenderness we have here; what self-forgetfulness; what almighty love! Jesus did not say to those who crucified him, "Begone!" One such word, and they must have all fled. When they came to take him in the garden, they went backward, and fell to the ground, when he spoke but a short sentence; and now that he is on the cross, a single syllable would have made the whole company fall to the ground, or flee away
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Exodus iii. 6
And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. LUKE xxiii. 30. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains. Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. These two passages occur, the one in the first lesson of this morning's service, the other in the second. One or other of them must have been, or must be, the case of you, of me, of every soul of man that lives or has lived since the world began. There must be a time in the existence of every human being when he will fear God. But
Thomas Arnold—The Christian Life

The Penitent Thief
LUKE xxiii. 42, 43. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. The story of the penitent thief is a most beautiful and affecting one. Christians' hearts, in all times, have clung to it for comfort, not only for themselves, but for those whom they loved. Indeed, some people think that we are likely to be too fond of the story. They have been afraid lest people should build
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Bourdaloue -- the Passion of Christ
Louis Bourdaloue was born at Bourges, in 1632. At the age of sixteen he entered the order of the Jesuits and was thoroughly educated in the scholarship, philosophy and theology of the day. He devoted himself entirely to the work of preaching, and was ten times called upon to address Louis XIV and his court from the pulpit as Bossuet's successor. This was an unprecedented record and yet Bourdaloue could adapt his style to any audience, and "mechanics left their shops, merchants their business, and
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Vol. 2

The Hands of the Father.
"Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit."--St Luke xxiii. 46. Neither St Matthew nor St Mark tells us of any words uttered by our Lord after the Eloi. They both, along with St Luke, tell us of a cry with a loud voice, and the giving up of the ghost; between which cry and the giving up, St Luke records the words, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." St Luke says nothing of the Eloi prayer of desolation. St John records neither the Eloi, nor the Father into thy hands, nor the loud
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

The Last Season
which I shall mention, in which the heart must be kept with all diligence, is when we are warned by sickness that our dissolution is at hand. When the child of God draws nigh to eternity, the adversary makes his last effort; and as he cannot win the soul from God, as he cannot dissolve the bond which unites the soul to Christ, his great design is to awaken fears of death, to fill the mind with aversion and horror at the thoughts of dissolution from the body. Hence, what shrinking from a separation,
John Flavel—On Keeping the Heart

Second Stage of the Roman Trial. Jesus Before Herod Antipas.
(Jerusalem. Early Friday Morning.) ^C Luke XXIII. 6-12. ^c 6 But when Pilate heard it [when he heard that Jesus had begun his operations in Galilee], he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. 7 And when he knew that he was of Herod's jurisdiction [Herod was tetrarch of Galilee--Luke iii. 1], he sent him unto Herod, who himself also ["also" includes both Pilate and Herod, neither of whom lived at Jerusalem] was at Jerusalem in these days. ["These days" refers to the passover season. Pilate had come
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Dead with Christ.
Gal. 2:20.--I am crucified with Christ. The Revised Version properly has the above text "I have been crucified with Christ." In this connection, let us read the story of a man who was literally crucified with Christ. We may use all the narrative of Christ's work upon earth in the flesh as a type of His spiritual work. Let us take in this instance the story of the penitent thief, Luke 23:39-43, for I think we may learn from him how to live as men who are crucified with Christ. Paul says: "I have been
Andrew Murray—The Master's Indwelling

Some More Particular Directions for Maintaining Continual Communion with God, or Being in his Fear all the Day Long.
1. A letter to a pious friend on this subject introduced here.--2. General plan of directions.--3. For the beginning of the day.--4. Lifting up the heart to God at our first awakening.--5, 10. Setting ourselves to the secret devotions of the morning, with respect to which particular advice is given.--11. For the progress of the day.--12. Directions are given concerning seriousness in devotion.--13. Diligence in business.--14. Prudence in recreations.--15. Observations of Providence.--16. Watchfulness
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

The First Word from the Cross
In the last chapter we saw the impressions made by the crucifixion on the different groups round the cross. On the soldiers, who did the deed, it made no impression at all; they were absolutely blind to the wonder and glory of the scene in which they were taking part. On the members of the Sanhedrim, and the others who thought with them, it had an extraordinary effect: the perfect revelation of goodness and spiritual beauty threw them into convulsions of angry opposition. Even the group of the
James Stalker—The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ

Things Omitted from Mark's Gospel.
1. Just as the skill of a master artist is discovered in the objects which he leaves out of his picture (the amateur crowding in everything on to the canvass for which he can find room), so the discerning eye at once detects the handiwork of the Holy Spirit in the various things which are included and omitted from different parts of the Word. Notably is this the case with Mark's Gospel. Here we find no Genealogy at the commencement, as in Matthew; the miraculous Conception is omitted, and there is
Arthur W. Pink—Why Four Gospels?

BY REV. J. G. GREENHOUGH, M.A. "And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas."--ST LUKE xxiii. 18. You have heard a crowd of people cry out all at once. It is always impressive, it is sometimes very terrible, occasionally it is sublime. It begins in a way that no one can explain. Somebody in the crowd utters a name, or ejaculates a brief sentence. What happens? Often nothing at all. Men are not in the mood for it; it drops unnoticed, or provokes
George Milligan—Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known

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