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24. Simon of Cyrene Bears Jesus’ Cross
(Matthew 27:31-34)
31And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.32Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, Him they compelled to bear His cross.33And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,34they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. (Psalm69:22)

In the streets of Jerusalem, Jesus broke down under the burden of His heavy cross. It was too great a load for Him, especially since the Roman scourging had entirely exhausted His strength. It is intimated here that occasionally we cannot bear our cross by ourselves, but need someone to help us. The Romans forced a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, to help Christ carry the cross. Later on, the sons of this man (Alexander and Rufus) became active members of the church in Rome (Mark 15:21, Romans 16:13). All the house of Simon was blessed because he carried Jesus’ cross.
When Jesus came to the place of crucifixion outside the city walls, He was offered a drink mixed with vinegar and bitter herbs which was intended to lessen the horrible sufferings of the cross. But He refused the drink because He wanted to bear our sins consciously in their fullest intensity.
Some people believe that Simon of Cyrene was crucified in Jesus’ place. However, the analgesic drink was not brought to Simon but to Jesus Christ only, which indicates that He - not Simon - was the one who was scourged. It was Jesus, not Simon, who stood among the soldiers, smitten, despised, and wearing clothes stained with His blood.

Mighty Lord Jesus, We thank You because You carried Your cross. When Your body was not able to carry the heavy cross any longer, You allowed a passer-by to help You. We ask You to forgive us our stumbling and our belief that we are unable to continue in bearing our cross. Yet, we are comforted because You are the Almighty One who will help us to carry our cross. You put Your yoke upon us, but You bear it with us so that with Your help we may reach the goal You have ordained for our lives. You have promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
What does it mean to bear the cross in following Jesus?