32Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.33And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).34The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.
Simon is not mentioned either before, or after, this moment in scripture. He is an unknown person who helps Jesus save us all. We are all called to be like Simon. We are all called to help Jesus save both those around us and those we do not know. Simply, quietly and without recognition.
Also notice that Jesus refused the wine mixture. It was intended to lessen his pain, and he would have none of it. He also said he would not drink of the fruit of the vine again till he drank it in his new Kingdom, and that was not now. Now was the suffering which makes the Kingdom – for Jesus and for us all.
35After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.36Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.37A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”38Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
39The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery.40“Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
41The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus.42“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!43He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”44Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
Coming down from the cross would have been easy.. and pointless. No, this was a job that needed to be completed with death. The ressurrection would make coming of the cross look like child’s play. Jesus finishing his mission in the midst of mockery and defamation can be compared to Noah finishing the ark when everyone made a fool of him. Both would ignore the words of the world and follow the command of God, and both would live to see salvation.
Can I finish my mission? I don’t know. Can you? I know in God’s strength I can, but will I choose to follow God when it is difficult and unpopular? Lord, keep me, guide me, and inspire me. *obbs*