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Summary: Simon was a man who came to worship at the Passover. His life was changed when he was forced to carry a cross up a hill.

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A. INTRODUCTION (Mark 15:20-22 KJV)

And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

Simon was a man of color from Africa who came to worship at the Passover. His life was changed when he was forced to carry a cross up a hill.

There are six practical lessons from this little known incident:

1. We can do what Jesus can’t do.

2. We can do what others can’t do.

3. We can do for Christ when we don’t realize it.

4. Doing the unexpected brings great blessing.

5. We are blessed by the things we are compelled to do.

6. The things that are thrust upon us defines our life.

B. DOING WHAT JESUS CAN’T DO.

1. Jesus began WALKING. "They led him out to crucify him" (Mark 15:20) but ended up being SUPPORTED. "They bring him to Goliath" (Mark 15:22).

2. Why could Jesus not make it?

a. NO SLEEP.

b. EMOTIONALLY DEVASTATED. His followers deserted Him.

c. LOSS OF BLOOD. "Pilate . . . took Jesus and

scourged Him" (Jn. 19:1).

d. HEAVY. Cross weighed at least 100 pounds.

e. "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death" (Matt. 26:38). "He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Is. 53:3).

3. "They laid hold upon one Simon a Cyrenian . . . and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus" (Luke 23:26).

C. DOING WHAT OTHERS CAN’T DO.

1. CRIMINALS: bore their instrument of death.

2. ROMANS: unthinkable for them.

3. JEWS: would have caused a riot.

4. Why Simon?

a. ALONE.

b. FOREIGNER by his skin and clothes.

c. STRANGER. "Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country" (Mark 15:21).

D. DOING FOR CHRIST WHEN WE DON’T REALIZE IT.

1. Simon probably had never heard the name Jesus.

2. Doing something for someone he didn’t know.

3. AFTER THE FACT, any follower of Christ would have envied the job.

4. Evidently, Christ commends service to us when we don’t realize everything we are doing. "Lord, when saw we thee, an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger . . . and did not minister to thee?" (Matt. 25:44). "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of these , ye did it not to me" (Matt. 25:45).

E. DOING THE UNEXPECTED BRINGS GREAT BLESSING.

1. Simon (Jewish name) had come to the feast of Passover. Couldn’t find lodging in Jerusalem, so he stayed in the country. Was walking to the city for the final day of the feast. The following day he would probably head home to his wife and two boys. "Simon the Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus (Rom. 16:13).

2. GREATER HOUR OF HISTORY. Simon happened by, if earlier or later he would have missed the opportunity of a life-time.

3. Greatest JOYS come unexpectedly. Most things we yearn for never come. The gift we expect is not as joyful as the unexpected gift.

4. Jesus’ return is UNEXPECTED. "In such an hour as ye think not" (Matt. 24:44).

5. "God’s everlasting purposes embrace all accidents, converting them to good" - Wordsworth.

F. WE ARE BLESSED BY THE THINGS WE ARE COMPELLED TO DO.

1. NOT CONSULTED. "They compel one Simon . . . to bear his cross" (Mark 15:21).

2. INTERFERING TASK. Simon was on his way to the Temple to worship God and atone for his family’s sin, i.e. Passover.

3. ATTITUDE. Did he yield to the inevitable with a curse in his heart? No! The results suggest he carried the cross with a helpful spirit.

4. Became a CHRISTIAN. He was known to Mark, as was his children. Some feel he was "Simeon, that was called Niger" (Acts 13:1). A leader in the Antioch church.

5. Became BETTER. The bitter things in life can destroy us or develop our character. They can make us bitter or better.

G. THE TASKS THAT ARE THRUST UPON US CAN DEFINE OUR LIFE.

1. CARRIED THE CROSS. Only one person is known for doing this task. Simon became famous for one task.

2. WHAT CROSS? Everyone is compelled to do something they don’t want to do. "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain" (Matt. 5:41). "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). What did Jesus mean by cross? _______________________. What is your biggest cross? ____________________________________.

3. You think if only I were free, life would be sunshine and happiness. Learn happiness in trouble because burdens are a part of life.

H. LESSONS TO TAKE AWAY.

1. Accept your crosses because YOU’LL HAVE THEM ANYWAY.

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