Hi, my name is Simon…I was there…I am Changed!

“You there, carry the cross of this King of the Jews!”

Simon of Cyrene or Niger as some have called me. I wasn’t just at the cross where Jesus died; I carried the cross that He died upon.

Some call that day – Good Friday; it did not seem to be good – especially as I walked this, the longest mile I had ever walked. I have thought of that fateful day nearly every day since it happened. Every detail… carved to the very core of my being. I close my eyes – I see the Romans coming to where my sons Alexander and Rufus and I stood; I open my eyes – it is all I can do to keep my thoughts from taking me straight to the hill they call the Skull; and even when I sleep – I find myself feeling the rough, hewn, and splintered instrument of death being driven upon my back.

May I share with you now something that really helped make this event for me a moment of destiny. It has forever changed the road I walk, the way I live, the way I love, and who I
serve. For me it was the way He looked at me and the words He shared as we walked arms linked. Enduring the pain of the cross, the thorns of the crown, the jeering words of the crowd, the tears of loved ones, and the whip of the soldiers – drunk so they would not remember what they did.

That day I found He knew me, that day He showed He loved me, that day I finally heard His call! By the time we found ourselves on the top of the hill, He had shared things with me about me and my family, how could He know other than being the Son of God. He so loved my boys, He talked of them as if He had known them since birth. But it was the way He called me, the way He spoke of my very need to serve. I then began to sense that carrying His cross would be the 1st of many things that I would do for Him.

He knew that I was just passing through on a day that would forever change the course of my history. Lost in my own thoughts and rituals, stained with the sins of a life with no purpose or cause, denying the story of this man named Jesus that I had heard of. You see I
wandered from place to place, thought to thought; never heeding the call to find this Man, so that I could find meaning and purpose.

I had felt the splinters, the thorns, and the warm crimson flow from His own body. Then I watched the nails, the sponge of hyssop, and the spear. I heard the thieves cry out, the curses of the soldiers, the jeering of the Jews, the mocking, the gasps. But I heard Him
say, as if to me and me alone, “Father, forgive them…” Then I saw my boys for the corner of my eye… That was for me… that was for us. From that moment on, I know I was changed… For as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! My purpose was to serve this King, with my whole life!

You see – this cross, many of you wear it around your neck having lost – from familiarity – the meaning of its wonder. Some of you look at it with a blank stare, having truly forgotten the passion of the act. Then there are a few of you that take this cross and personally deny the power of the blood stains, from the greatest Man I had ever met.

He loves me so much. How could I not serve Him, I will do anything for Him! You see I now serve this King of the Jews, this King of the Gentiles, truly the King of Kings! Will you find
your way to the top of this hill, will you feel the splinters that pierced His back; will you serve your King. For He loves you just the same, He gave His life for you!