I was in the fifth grade (1965) when Sidney Poitier was cast as Simon of Cyrene in “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” directed by George Stevens.
The truth is – I do not regard myself as not much of a Simon or a Simonette. Why?
The mention of Simon is recorded in the Gospels of Luke 23:26, Matthew 27:32-33, and Mark 15:21. As the soldiers led him (Jesus) away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him, Luke 23:26-43NIV.
Simon of Cyrene – Simon, rise up and go forth.
The background of Simon is not fully recorded in Scriptures. However, one important detail is that his sons, Rufus and Alexander, were disciples; they were followers of Jesus. What a story that these sons must have heard directly from their father concerning Christ’s crucifixion, that Simon could testify that “I was there.”
It is easy to say what you may have done under certain circumstances. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But when you are going through, you must exhibit faith. Simon can say, “I was there at a time that I could have…”
Today, if I had the opportunity to sit at my table with Simon, I would want to hear and learn from his experience – because he was there. “Simon, I want to know how you encouraged your sons not to give up as servant leaders under such world conditions?” “What were your thoughts toward Jesus as you were compelled to carry that cross? How did your life change as a result of this experience? Were you scorned or were you encouraged by the unfolding events?” “What did you think of the way you are represented in history?
I would like to think that I could have rose to the challenge as Simon did. The fact is, I don’t know. What I do know is that it would take Jesus to get me through.
What of Your Legacy Simon?
Today, there are those who has called out Simon as a pagan fellow. This, of course, is quite a different portrayer in the film, The Passion of the Christ. Ironically, this would be somewhat against the grain for a father of two followers of Jesus. In the film, Simon is a Jew who was forced by the Romans to carry the cross. He was featured as one who was moved to show compassion toward Jesus. Today, such compassion has caused many organizations to draw a contrast. A number of organizations have taken their name in honor of Simon, the compassionate one.
Stains – Caught up with Stains
“Simon, do you believe Jesus had anything to do with the removal of stains in life? Are we victims or victors of this belief?”
Perhaps Simon can witness that there is no detergent or substance that can wash away the dirty stains in our lives. There are some dirty stains in our lives that we are so glad that only God knows. In fact, we are so glad that we do not have to reveal such things in man’s “open court.”
I believe that Simon would make a compelling witness about the stain of the cross. The word “stain” is defined as a dirty mark that is not easily removed. We have stains. Have you ever tried to remove a stain (s)? Did you switch to different substances and still the stain was unremovable? I have. For true believers of Christ, the belief is that the shed blood of Jesus removed the stain of sin and death. Which means, we are not held hostage by sin.
The portrayal of Simon by Poitier is a reflection of who we often think we are. We are in need of compassion, and we should show compassion. Showing compassion takes love and listening. These are the things that Jesus exhibited.
Your assignment and my assignment must lead us to a compassion and love that exemplifies His best. On any day, Simons and Simonettes, must show up. The weight of any load can be lighter when we choose to help.
Isn’t it amazing how life gives us the opportunities to love and show compassion toward others. And isn’t it amazing how many times we miss those opportunities. How many times do we sit in judgement and call it God’s way. Does this celebrate and represent that the compassionate one?
Do you really want God to show the light upon all your stains? Do you prefer the new mercy that you received for this day?
Where are the Simons and Simonettes of today? Speak Simon!
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