The details of the events of this day can make the head spin as Jesus is transported from one leader to another and at each point, riddled with questions and beaten, spit on, humiliated, scourged, mocked and abused.
From all accounts and our own common sense, after such treatment He was basically beaten to a pulp…
as blood would have been dripping down His face, from His back and sides and limbs.
Add to that a rough hewn cross slammed down on raw flesh as the crown of thorns dug deeper into His matted hair, temple and forehead.
He was weakened from lack of food and drink on top of it.
So for today’s mediation, my mind rests on Simon of Cyrene.
Three of the four Gospels tell of his forced shouldering of the Cross of Christ.
Two say he was going out of the country and just passing by, one mentions he was the father of Alexander and Rufus.
And I try to fill in the gaps.
Was this dad walking into Jerusalem with his two sons the day before Passover just minding his own business?
Perhaps wondering what was all the commotion as people were lining the street and then he sees another Roman prisoner stumbling along under the weight of a cross.
Maybe he tries to shield his sons’ eyes from the brutality.
Or if they are older perhaps he tells them this is what happens to those who cross the Roman government and let that be an example to you, my sons.
When all of a sudden, he is seized by these soldiers and pushed alongside this blood covered human and forced to get in step with Him.
John says Jesus carried His cross to Calvary so we must assume it was in tandem with this man named Simon.
I wonder if Simon was a believer or even a Jew.
I think of how his clothes and skin rubbed up against the oozing flesh wounds and sweat and filth of our Savior.
I wonder if the thorns didn’t bump against his own cheeks and into his head as they were pressed together under the weight of the cross.
If his blood and sweat began to mingle with Christ’s.
I wonder if his sons followed along weaving in and out of the crowd trying to catch a glimpse of their dad, wondering how much more the soldiers would demand of him and would they be walking away together or would their father suffer the same fate as this prisoner.
I wonder if they stayed to watch while the soldiers nailed Him to the Cross and I wonder as they walked away and later heard the stories of the empty tomb and His appearing to so many, healed and whole with only the permanent holes in his hands, feet and side if Simon questioned why he, out of all the world, had been chosen to bear that very-different-from-any-other-in all-of-time-and-eternity Cross alongside Jesus.
I wonder what methods they employed as they tried to get the blood stains and mess cleaned out of his hair and skin and clothes and erase the terror and fear of that day from their hearts and minds.
And I wonder.
Is His blood evident on me and in me…in all I do and all I say and all I think and all I am?
It may not be perfectly displayed to those around me, but it is evident to the only One whose opinion matters.
When God looks at me, He sees His Son’s sacrifice that covers me and paid the penalty for me.
This is the promise for all who have received Him as Lord and Savior.
For all who were yanked out of the crowd and summoned to take up His Cross and walk beside Him.
I hope you will read the passages associated with the day of Christ’s death and then I hope you will celebrate His Resurrection and the new life that is ours because of His sacrifice.
- Matthew 27: 1-61
- Mark 15
- Luke 22: 66- 23:55
- John 18:28 – 42