Now Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry the cross of Jesus.
I. THERE MAY BE A BLESSING IN ENFORCED SERVICE. Simon the Cyrenian is raised into the light of history; perhaps to teach us this. No nobler honor for the Christian than to reflect, "I have been called to bear the cross." And for some to reflect, "I was forced into carrying the cross I would have refused, or left on the ground." So with that other Simon, surnamed Peter.
II. PAIN IS RATHER TO BE STRUGGLED WITH THAN ARTIFICIALLY SUPPRESSED, We seek anodynes for our troubles. Jesus teaches us to react against them by the force of faith. In the hour of duty we are to seek presence, not absence, of mind; to collect our faculties, not to distract them.
III. WHAT IS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE MAY BE MORALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Christ could have come down from the cross in the former sense, could not in the latter. He presents the ideal of suffering service for us, and the revelation of God's ways. There may be things which God cannot do, in our way of speaking, because he knows they are not well to be done. We, at ]cast, cannot save ourselves at the expense of duty, and must be content to appear foolish or impotent to many. Suffering and salvation are facts eternally wedded and at one. - J.
And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian.I. In going through the history of the fact, our thoughts must glance along THE LINKS OF THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE LAST APPEAL OF PILATE, "Behold, the Man," AND THE SUBJECT WHICH CLAIMS OUR ATTENTION NOW.
II. WE PASS FROM THE HISTORIC FACT TO THE CHALLENGE FOUNDED UPON IT. In view of what is now meant by cross bearing, we ask, "Who among you is willing to become a cross bearer for Christ?" The only cross in prospect now is a cross for the soul. Carrying a cross after Christ means, for one thing, some kind of suffering for Christ. View the cross bearing as something practical, in distinction from something only emotional, and answer the question, "who is now willing to be a cross bearer for Christ?" "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and your children!" On the roadside near an old Hungarian town, grey with the stains of time and weather, there is a stone image of the great Cross bearer, and under it is sculptured this inscription in Latin; "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow." "The thorough woe-begoneness of that image," remarks an old scholar, "used to haunt me long: that old bit of granite — the beau-ideal of human sorrow, weakness, and woe-begoneness. To this day it will come back upon me." Natural sensibility is not irreligious; but, considered in itself alone, it is not religion. With all the pain of bursting heart, and all the leverage of straining strength, Simon, bearing the cross for Christ, is the perpetual type of one who not only feels for Christ, but who tries to do something. I charge you by the crown of thorns, that you shrink from no ridicule that comes upon you simply for Christ's sake. On July 1st, , when John Huss had to die for Christ's sake, and when, on the way to the dread spot, the priests put upon his head a large paper cap, painted with grotesque figures of devils, and inscribed with the word, "Hoeresiarcha!" he said, "Our Lord wore a crown of thorns for me; why should not I wear this for Him?" I charge you by the truth that Christ was not ashamed of you, that you be not ashamed of Christ. In view of the strength assured to each cross bearer, who is willing?
(Charles Stanford, D. D.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. THE GREATNESS OF TRIFLES. Had Simon started from the little village where he lived five minutes earlier or later, had he walked a little faster or slower, had he happened to be lodging on the other side of Jerusalem, had he gone in at another gate, had the centurion not fixed on him to carry the cross, all his life would have been different. And so it is always. Our lives are like the Cornish rocking stones, pivoted on little points.
1. Let us bring the highest and largest principles to bear on the smallest events and circumstances.
2. Let us repose in quiet confidence on Him in whose hands the whole puzzling overwhelming mystery lies. To Him "great" and "small" are terms that have no meaning. He looks upon men's lives, not according to the apparent magnitude of the deeds with which they are filled, but simply according to the motives from which, and the purpose towards which, they were done.
II. THE BLESSEDNESS AND HONOUR OF HELPING JESUS CHRIST. Though He bore Simon's sins in His Own Body on the tree, He needed Simon to help Him to bear the cross; and He needs us to help Him to spread throughout the world the blessed consequences of that cross. For us all there is granted the honour, and from us all there is required the sacrifice and the service of helping the suffering Saviour of men.
III. THE PERPETUAL RECOMPENSE AND RECORD OF HUMBLEST CHRISTIAN WORK. How little Simon thought, when he went back to his rural lodging that night, that he had written his Name high up on the tablet of the world's memory, to be legible forever. God never forgets, or allows to be forgotten, anything done for Him. We may not leave our works on any record that men can read. What of that, if they are written in letters of light in the Lamb's Book of Life, to be read out by Him, before His Father and the holy angels, in the last great day. We may not leave any separate traces of our service, any more than the little brook that comes down some galley on the hillside flows separate from its sisters, with whom it has coalesced in the bed of the great river, or in the rolling, boundless ocean. What of that, so long as the work, in its consequences, shall last?
IV. THE BLESSED RESULTS OF CONTACT WITH THE SUFFERING CHRIST. Only by standing near the cross, and gazing on the Crucified Jesus, will any of us ever learn the true mystery and miracle of Christ's great and loving Being and work. Take your place there behind Him, near His cross; gazing upon Him till your heart melts, and you, too, learn that He is your Lord, and Saviour, and God. Look to Him who bears what none can help Him to carry — the burden of the world's sin; let Him bear yours; yield to Him your grateful obedience; and then take up your cross daily, and bear the light burden of self-denying service to Him who has borne the heavy load of sin for you and all mankind.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)angari; they were allowed to seize on any horses and equipages they needed, to demand entertainment wherever they came, free of expense and this proved a great grievance. The word passed into use among the Greeks (ἀγγαρεύειν), and the Romans exercised pretty freely the same rights of requisitioning. When the Baptist said to the soldiers, "Do violence to no man," he doubtless referred to this system of extorting the use of their horses, their beasts, even their own work, out of subject people, without payment.
(S. Baring Gould, M. A.)
(S. Baring Gould, M. A.)
(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)
(Bishop Jeremy Taylor.)
(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)
(R. Glover.)So he got linked forever to the Lord!
(J. Morison, D. D.)
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