The Word for today:
Our schedule says we are in the book of Judges, but we’re still talking about Simon of Cyrene from the gospel of Mark. So what gives?
We were detained by an important question from Emma of Pensacola concerning Simon of Cyrene, so we decided to answer it before moving on to Judges. Emma’s question was prompted by the article we published two days ago. The first part of our reply was posted yesterday. We will catch up to the Judges tomorrow.
***Q. I am intrigued by Simon of Cyrene and I would like to know if there are any “theological implications” that we should know about.
A. First let me say that Stand in the Rain does not consult theological textbooks. We just look to see how a character fits into God’s great Story. The Bible is a storybook, not a textbook—and when we begin to see it that way, these questions often answer themselves.
So that’s what we want you to do. We want you to see scripture as a story, and from the story derive the answers yourself…
1. We told you in yesterday’s article that Simon and his sons had traveled to Jerusalem all the way from Cyrene (in North Africa) for the Feast of Passover. This is your biggest clue from the story of scripture.
2. Now go to Exodus 12:1-7 and read what each family was required to provide for the Passover.
3. Now turn to John 1:29 and see through the eyes of John the Baptist as he identified the fulfillment of that “thing” required for Passover.
4. Now consider that it was the Law of Moses which required that this item be brought for the Passover ritual. In Simon’s brief story, can you find any representatives of “the law” --
A man named Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. (Mark 15:21)
Train yourself to see the Bible for what it is -- a Story good and true, not a textbook of systematic theology. Work hard to overcome the mistaken notion that the “moral of the story" is the point. When reading the Bible, the point of the Story is the Story itself. Let me repeat that:
The point of God's Great Story is the story—its plot, and especially its great Character-- itself!
That’s why we were disdainful of reducing Simon of Cyrene to a theological precept. He is representative of way more than that…
When the solders of Rome (representative of the law) compelled Simon of Cyrene to bring Jesus to the place where his blood would be spilled on a cross, it was a virtual re-enactment of Passover.
At Passover, the Mosaic Law required that the blood of a lamb be applied to the posts and the lintel (the upper crosspiece) of a door frame. When the blood was applied, the death angel passed over the sins of those inside (who were said to be “under the blood.”)
Simon of Cyrene, then, is representative of the person who brings Jesus, the Lamb of God, as his sacrifice for sin. Simon, with the cross slung over one shoulder and Jesus, at times, slung over the other shoulder, isn’t representative of a dry idea, but of all the people who are under the beams and under the blood. And that means you, Emma of Pensacola.
And so we’ll end today’s article where we met you two days ago, when we said that you must no longer see yourself as just a Bible reader, on the outside looking in.
“There you are on the page with Jesus,” we wrote, “so walk right into the Story and become one with it.”
Simon of Cyrene, meet Emma of Pensacola. Emma of Pensecola, meet Sinon of Cyrene. Simon and Emma, meet Jesus of Nazareth.