The eighth of fifteen words on Jesus' way to the Cross.
The eighth of our Lent reflections considers the impact that a 'random man' can have on the stories we read...
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
This verse is the shortest passage in our journey to the Cross. But it contains a profound challenge.
A random man, or so it seems, is plucked out of the crowd.
This man, who was just a passer-by, is told to do something to help a stranger. Simon hasn’t met Jesus yet. This is a man who has travelled from Libya to Israel, probably on business, but he is thrust into the thick of Jesus’ journey to the Cross.
Simon, from Cyrene, is a random man.
And so are we.
The challenge of this journey to the cross is perhaps pressed into service here – what if you were that random man? If you were plucked from the crowd, how would you help?
Jesus answers, perhaps, with words he has already spoken in Matthew 25, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’
Pray – Ask God to give you opportunities in your every day to step out of the crowd and help someone. Pray and trust that God will use those small gestures of help to open up gospel conversations.
Our Together Prayer diary has this prayer request for today: “So many things prevent people from coming face to face with the gospel. It may be a physical barrier, such as illness or self-imposed solitude, a spiritual barrier, such as having been brought up with religious mis-conceptions, or simply a hardened heart. Praise God that, no matter what holds us back, he can get through to even the most difficult to reach, and can soften the hardest heart. Let’s pray for people we know in these situations”