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Summary: A little known bible character seen at the cross teaches us about expecting God to work.

Morning Message

March 25, 2001

Central Church of Christ

John Dobbs

- Faces Around the Cross -

A MAN DRAFTED INTO SERVICE

Luke 23:22-27

Introduction:

1. After Jesus was put before Pilate, and finally handed over to the Jews for crucifixion, he was taken into the Praetorium. There he was mocked by the chief priests and Jews. A purple robe was put upon him. They called out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" They struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they ‘worshiped’ him. A crown of thorns was placed upon his head. He was then led out into the streets to the cross. The cross probably weighed up to 300 pounds. It was common for a criminal to carry his own cross to Golgotha. Most likely he carried the crossbeam. Jesus carried the cross, but then fell beneath its weight. He was physically exhausted, having been up all night in false trials, beaten, humiliated. In a bloody exhaustion, he fell beneath the cross. It was then that the Roman soldiers looked for someone who could carry the cross for him. That’s when we meet a man drafted into service.

2. What do we know about Simon? He was from Cyrene. This is in modern Libya, an African country. Today Cyrene is known as Tripoli. Cyrenians present on day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10). Cyrenians powerful in the Synagogue (Acts 6:10). Cyrenian converts went to Antioch and began telling the Greeks about Christ, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord because of their efforts (Acts 11:19-21). Simon is possibly mentioned again in Acts 13:1. If so, then Simon left Calvary a changed man. Maybe in days after he was a leader in Antioch and a part of the first mission to the Gentiles. Mark says he was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Rufus was a part of the Roman church (Rom. 16:13). Simon raised his children as believers. Rufus was “eminent in the Lord”. The mother of Rufus was dear to Paul, he called her his mother.

3. When we see what happened to Simon, we see something that can happen to us at any time. We are surprised by the sudden interruption of life as we

know it. (health, death, heart break, rejection, fear, betrayal, discouragement) Things happen quickly that hurt us & cause struggle. We may think we are on a vacation, and then we are presented with the unacceptable. In a moment of distress …

I. WATCH FOR GOD’S WORK.

A. This must have been a grim day for Simon of Cyrene. The Romans had the right to ask anyone to serve them. Simon had come from that far off land for the Passover. Perhaps he had scraped and saved for many years. Perhaps that this was the dream of a lifetime – to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. He is tapped to carry the cross of this criminal. It was embarrassing, inconvenient, unpleasant, a bitter experience. He may have wanted to get it over with…get to Golgotha…fling down the cross. But perhaps he lingered on because something about Jesus fascinated him. (Barclay)

B. In a moment of interruption, look for God to work. Simon helps the Savior of mankind carry his burden, and doesn’t even know it. Perhaps… Simon watched he saw the darkness that descended over the land. He heard the thieves…the Centurion who said that this was the Son of God. He stayed in Jerusalem for a few days…he heard about the missing body. In many different ways as we go through our struggles, God is pointing us to Jesus. Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” How do the doors open…when…where? When inconvenienced, hurt, struggling – watch for the open door. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” If we will watch for God’s work, he promises reward for our faith.

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