I can think of 2 popular Easter films that show Simon of Cyrene carrying the Cross with Jesus and not instead of Jesus.

I suppose that there are some theological issues. No one else could possibly accomplish what Jesus did at Calvary. It was His destiny to be the sinless, spotless Lamb slain for the sins of mankind. His Cross. No good deed or impactful message or midnight comfort contributed by mortal men could further the course of grace. When Jesus uttered “It is finished”, He could have said with equal impact ‘It is accomplished’.

But there was Simon of Cyrene, a district in North Africa. He had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. In short order he was told by gruff Romans to get in there and help a condemned man to His place of execution. His face (in the films) suggests that he cannot understand the indignity. But under that burden, in the blood, sweat and strain of it all, he meets a man without comparison. He accepts the task of moving Jesus forward and upward, in accordance with an incomprehensible desire.

Simon is crushed by the injustice of it all, and by the unstoppable majesty of the Nazarene. The lordship of Messiah is being established in the Cyrenian’s heart.

We also must go to that Hill with Jesus and be crushed.


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