Summary: A message about those who followed the cross. The things we can learn from them.

Title: Characters of the Cross

Theme: Learning from those who were around the cross.

Text: A variety

Simeon of Cyrene

Mark 15:21 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.

Matthew 27:32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.

Simeon was probably there to sell during the Passover season. He got caught up in the crowd probably passing through. There is no evidence that he was involved in any of it.

He is compelled by the soldier to carry the cross of Jesus. Compelled is forced. It was an interruption in his plans and life.

Point: God has a way of interrupting our life to get our attention.

Point: When you come in contact with the cross your life is changed. (and your family)

Point: Jesus did not carry the cross, it was not His cross to bear. It was ours. He challenges us in scripture to “take up our cross and follow him”

Point: Rufus is more than likely the same in Romans 16:13

What do we want for our family? A life of eternity. This is bigger than the dreams and pleasures of this life.

The Mocking

Matthew 27:39-44 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads (40) and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." (41) Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, (42) "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, [159] let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. (43) He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.' " (44) Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

As Jesus is driven to the cross the crowds gathered and they were relentless. They constantly mocked him. They threw insults. The mockers were made up of three people.

Three groups

1) The crowd, those who passed by blasphemed and “wagging” or shaking their heads.

Maybe they got caught up in the emotion of things. Maybe they were truly angry and bitter at God.

Bitterness and anger will cause of to miss the savior.

2) The chief priests with the scribes and elders

Matthew 27:42) "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. (43) He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.' "

They said they would believe if He came off the cross. Yet they did not believe when Jesus healed the lame, caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dead raised. They would not believe now,

3) The Robbers

The Two Thieves – God will let you choose

Luke 23:39-43 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." (40) But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? (41) And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." (42) Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, [157] remember me when You come into Your kingdom." (43) And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

It is amazing how people who come from the same place will act differently.

• Able and Cain

• Abraham and Lot

• David and Saul

• Peter and Judas

They both saw the same thing yet made different choices.

It really isn’t about your circumstance.

Illustration: Edwin had two brothers, John and Junius. Both were actors, although neither rose to his stature. In 1863, the three siblings united their talents to perform Julius Caesar. The fact that Edwin’s brother John took the role of Brutus was an eerie harbinger of what awaited the brothers—and the nation—two years hence.

For this John who played the assassin in Julius Caesar is the same John who took the role of assassin in Ford’s Theatre. On a crisp April night in 1865, he stole quietly into the rear of a box in the Washington theater and fired a bullet at the head of Abraham Lincoln. Yes, the last name of the brothers was Booth—Edwin Thomas Booth and John Wilkes Booth.

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