Summary: Jesus saved others. Himself, he could not save.

He Saved Others

Matthew 27: 32,

“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.”

He Saved Others

Throughout his ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ touched the lives of the people around Him. He was gentle, meek and lowly. He was moved with compassion to heal the sick. He was a lover of children and a friend to the friendless. He gave the blind men back their sight. He delivered the widows dead and only son back into her arms. He delivered the dead daughter of Jairus back to her parents alive again. He was good and pure, a lover of souls. And he was loved by those whose lives he touched. We see how Mary loved him, washing His feet with her tears, and drying them with her hair.

There was never such a man as this one called Jesus of Nazareth. There was never such a man, who commanded demons to leave a human being, and they obeyed him. There was never such a man who cleansed lepers with the touch of his hand. There was never such a man, whose words raised the dead to life again. There was never such a man who strode upon the waters of the sea, and whose voice the raging storm obeyed. There was never such a man. There was never such a savior.

And, yet, there was never such a portrait of pain, never such an image of misery, of suffering, of shame, of weakness, of helplessness. There was never such a sight of despair and hopelessness, as when he, the one who even the winds obeyed, the one whose voice caused demons to tremble, looked down upon those who loved him, as those who hated him hurled insults and ridicule at him. Even those who were crucified with him ridiculed and mocked him.

It was required that a prisoner carry his own cross to the place of execution. Not only had Jesus already been scourged, His flesh was lacerated and hanging in ribbons. His punishment was simply more than His physical human body could bear. Though He was all God, He was all man, and He collapsed under the heavy timber of the cross. The Roman soldiers drafted the first man they could find, Simon by name, from the country of Cyrene. He was, no doubt, a Jew who had returned to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration.

They “compelled” him to carry the cross. They made him do it against his will. The cross was the ultimate form of degradation. Crucifixion was the supreme method of killing the worst of the worst criminals. You didn’t even talk about a cross in polite company. You can imagine his humiliation and resentment at having to do this, having to carry a Roman cross, an instrument of unspeakable cruelty. When Simon touched that cross, he was considered under the law to be ceremonially unclean, and could not take part in the Passover ritual for which he would have had to travel over 700 miles to attend. For a Jewish man, their could be little worse than being forced to carry an unclean cross to an unclean place on what would soon be a high holy day.

Mark refers to Simon as though the early church would know who he was talking about.

Mark 15:21, “And they compelled one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.”

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