The Longest Walk

A Jerusalem street. The way of the Cross.

Luke 23:26 “As they led (Jesus) away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.”

While the Bible fails to provide information about his personal experience, I believe Simon the Cyrene must have remained silent after his encounter in Jerusalem. His children would never hear the details of their father’s tale, never know the impact this day had on his life. It was just too painful to repeat.

He hardly ever came to town but this year he journeyed to the city for the Holy Days. While there, Simon is pressed into service by the military arm of Rome. Without warning, he is drafted to carry the cross of Jesus. He is forced to march through the crowded streets with a burden and a mission pressing down on his shoulders. And at the end of his march, standing on a bare hillside just beyond the city walls, Simon is caught by surprise.

In the streets the crowd has been aggitated and rude. On the hillside the event takes on a new level of barbarism. The air is filled with cursing, shouting, screaming, and wailing. Bodies are pierced and blood pours onto the ground. Thorns press into flesh. Nails drive deep into muscle and bone. Wounds are re-opened as clotted cloth is torn away. The cross he has carried is raised to its full height and dropped, pounding into a hole, jarring its occupant. It isn’t until much later that he realizes some of the screams he hears are his own.

And for the rest of his, children would sit in silence as the memory of that day played in his mind. It would be hours before he would tell of the fear he experienced, the blood he felt on his face, or the death he witnessed on the side of that hill. It was a day that changed his life. It was a day that changed the world.