Can you imagine being dragged from the crowd to help a criminal carry his cross to be executed? After all Simon did not live in Jerusalem, he was visiting from Cyrene, a town in Libya, he was probably just curious to see what was going on and suddenly he is expected to help. But he does help and it is through Simon that Jesus reaches the place of execution where he died for our sins.
I wonder whether they said anything on that journey? Did Simon look on Jesus with compassion or was he irritated that he should be picked on for this humiliating task? We will never really know the answer, except that the book of Acts refers to a Simon who preached the gospel to the Greeks and had two sons, Rufus and Alexander (Mark 15:21) – but whether this was the same Simon who helped Jesus carry the cross is not clear. But maybe it is the same person and in those minutes walking together to Calvary, Simon was able to see something of God’s kingdom.
Sometimes we find ourselves in difficult or unpleasant situations, but always look for what God might be doing for you and what you might learn – learn about others and learn about oneself. God uses all kinds of situations and encounters to reveal himself to us just as Simon found when he met Jesus on that final journey.