Simon the Servant
J. Philip Morgan resides in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is engaged in pastoral work at the Bible Chapel in New Smyrna Beach, as well as in pioneer Bible teaching and conference ministry. His brief but instructive study on Simon the Cyrenian is his first article to appear in Focus.
One of the popular misconceptions in religious thinking today is that Simon the Cyrenian had to be pressed into the service of bearing Christ’s cross because Christ was too weak to bear it following His long night of anguish and torture. However, we have no account given in the Bible that Christ collapsed under the weight of the cross, therefore necessitating outside help in the person of Simon. Furthermore, the context of Matthew 27:26-31 is that of a “kingly” atmosphere. Undoubtedly, after the mock adulation, the farce was continued, in that a king does not bear his own burdens and so Simon was compelled to bear Christ’s cross to Golgotha.
The compulsion is noted in Matthew 27:32. This is usually the beginning of God’s dealings with a person when that one comes under the conviction of sin according to Christ’s teachings in John 16:8-11. How we ought to praise God for the barricades He places across our paths in our headlong flight to eternal destruction! Simon was confronted with something not of his liking, as was Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:5), and as we are when under conviction of sin. Not only does God place the conviction of sin upon us, but also the compulsion of choice according to Deuteronomy 30:15-19 and Jeremiah 21:8. Thank God for His love for us when He compels us to be conscious about our sins.
The conversion of Simon is seen, I believe, in Mark 15:21. There is the seeming coincidence of Simon’s “passing by,” yet nothing is coincidental when God is working. The verse also tells us that Simon’s sons, Rufus and Alexander, were well-known to the Christian fellowship reading Mark’s account. I believe this verse teaches that Simon trusted Christ and became a missionary to his own family, as we all must. What joy to share Christ with loved ones in the family circle! Rufus and his mother are also mentioned in Romans 16:13.
The consecration of Simon is suggested by the added information given in Luke 23:26, “that he might bear it (i.e., the cross) after Jesus.” Bearing one’s cross after Christ is a requirement of discipleship according to Matthew 16:24. People sometimes think the cross is a burden to be borne, but the cross in Christ’s experience was used only for death. The Christian must also realize his cross is to be an instrument of death to self and self-will in favour of the will of God for his life. Consecration must follow conversion or there will be no victory in the Christian’s life.
The concealment of Simon is found in John 19:17, in that Simon is not mentioned by name at all! How wonderful to be so hidden in Christ that the work of the saint is seen to be the work of the Saviour! This same thought is seen in Acts 9:5 where Saul is seen persecuting Christ as he persecutes the followers of Christ. It is also taught in Matthew 25:40.
In a situation which seemed to begin in mere coincidence, Simon is seen eventually at Golgotha. Praise God for His persistence in winning us to Himself. May we be willing to fulfill the role of Simon the servant.