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Sermons and Outlines

Mark 15:15-26


Intro: These verses give us, in glaring detail, the events surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can read in the Gospel account of the pain and agony our Lord endured for us that night and day in which He suffered for the sins of humanity. Often, we read this account and our hearts are stirred to think of what He did for us that day. Yet, too often we read these words and fail to catch the small details that make this story come alive for us. In this passage, one of those small details presents itself for us to look at this evening.

In verse 21, we read of a man named Simon the Cyrenian. He is mentioned here and Matthew and Luke. He appears on the pages of our Bible out of nowhere and just as quickly as he appears, he is gone again, However, while he appears in our vision, he teaches us a valuable lesson about the love of God and about a man's love for the Savior. This man did for our Savior what even His closest disciples were unable to do. That is, he eased our Lord's suffering during one of the darkest hours of His earthly ministry. You see, it was Simon Peter who had said, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death." Luke 22:33. Yet, when the time came to follow Jesus unto death, peter, like the rest of the disciples forsook Him and fled, Mark 14:50.

Let's take a few minutes this evening to look into this account of Simon the Cyrenian and ask ourselves the question, Must Jesus Bear His Cross Alone? I wonder if we are willing to bear the cross behind our Savior as Simon did. Let's examine this story in its details this evening.


A. V. 26 His Crime - According to this verse, Jesus was accused of claiming to be the King of the Jews. In reality, Jesus was going to the cross because it was part of his Father's plan, Rev. 13:8. From a human standpoint, Jesus was condemned because He was godly and because He taught men the truth about worshiping and serving God. The only crime that Jesus was guilty of was the crime of loving sinners and showing them the way to come to God.

B. V. 15-20 His Condemnation - These verses tell us of how our Lord was abused by Pilate's soldiers. Among other things, they scourged Him, spit upon Him, beat Him with their hands, crowned Him with a crown of thorns, clothed Him in a scarlet robe, mocked Him, and beat Him over the head with a reed. Yet, Jesus endured all these things without uttering a word, Isa. 53:7.

(Ill. Let us never forget this evening that Jesus endured all that He did because He did not want you and me going to Hell. He endured the worst that man could do to Him and He suffered it all because He loved us more than He loved His own life! What a glorious demonstration of the love of God for sinners - Rom. 5:8; John 15:13.)

C. V. 22-25 His Crucifixion - After they had abused our Lord and after He had endured an entire night of brutal treatment, they lead Him away to be crucified. Our modern minds cannot comprehend the brutality of the death that Jesus endured for us. We get our word "excruciating" from the same word from which we get the word cross. It was a death so harsh and so terrible that it was reserved for the lowest of slaves. In fact, a Roman citizen could not be crucified, except by direct decree of Caesar himself. Therefore, we see that Jesus Christ, a man Who had expended His life in the service of others, a man Who "did no sin", a man Who harmed no one, but helped all who came to Him was condemned to die the death of the vilest and most hated slave.

(Ill. Do I need to remind you how horrible His death was? Isa. 52:14 tells us that "His visage was so marred, more than any man." Imagine the agony of having nails driven through hands and feet. Imagine the torment of feeling nerve against iron. Imagine the agony as His body is wracked with spasms that slam His lacerated back against the cross. Imagine the swelling of His head from the thorns that were driven into His head. Imagine Him having to push against the nails in His feet, while He pulled against the nails un His hands just to get a breath of air to say, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.", or "Today, shalt thou be with me in paradise." Imagine the thirst! Imagine the shame of His nakedness. Imagine the loneliness of His death, as His disciples, with the exception of John were gone and even His own Father turned away from Him. Imagine what it would have been like that day to see this man die this death and know that it all happened because He loved you and wanted to make a way for you to be saved. Imagine that kind of love!)

(Ill. Certainly, the death of Jesus is the centerpiece of this passage, however, there is more for us to see here tonight. We have caught a glimpse of Jesus, now, let's notice this man named Simon.)

I. We See Our Savior Condemned


A. His Scheme - We do not know much about this man named Simon. All we know about him is that he was from Cyrene which was located in Africa. We know that he was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover, so it stands to reason that he must have been a Jewish proselyte. If this were the case, he was probably traveling with his family. This man, an African, probably a man of color was in this place to worship. He had come to offer a Passover Lamb and now he comes face to face with the Lamb of God!

(Ill. What a picture of grace! Just like Simon, I was minding my own business when I came face to face with the Lord. I didn't know anything about Him, but He was looking for me!)

B. His Selection - The Word of the Lord tells us that they "compelled" Simon to carry the Lord's Cross. This word means to "press into public service". It seems that Roman soldiers could enlist civilians to do certain tasks for them. People were required by Roman law to obey, or they could be put to death. Jesus seems to mention this practice in Matthew 5:41.

C. His Shame - Perhaps one of the reasons the soldiers pressed Simon into this service was the color of his skin. You see, it was considered the most degrading act imaginable to carry the cross of a condemned man. No soldier would want to do and, and the soldiers probably would not have chosen anyone who was obviously Jewish to do on the eve of the Passover. To have caried this cross would have branded that person and would have rendered then ceremonially unclean. For Simon, the Passover was over the minute he touched the cross. The word "compel" carries with it the idea of force. Perhaps it was the threat of death that caused this African to pick up that cross and carry it. Regardless of the circumstances, from the moment Simon touched that cross, he was a marked man!

(Ill. What a picture for those of us who claim to be Christians! Did you realize that the cross of Christ is still associated with shame?, (Heb. 12:2). Jesus said that one of the marks of His disciples was that they had a willingness and a desire to carry the cross, Matt. 16:24. This passage makes it clear that those who follow Jesus must be willing to deny themselves, take up that cross and follow Him. Please note that the steps of Jesus led Him to death before they led Him to glory! The same may be true of you and me! For sure, bearing the cross will bring the reproach of the world, 1 Cor. 1:18, but a willingness to bear the cross behind the Lord will bring the smile of God! Just as a condemned criminal was forced to carry his cross to show the world that he was under and submissive to the rules he once rebelled against, so the born again believer must bear the cross of Christ, which is self-denial, to show the world that we are now submissive to the rule of the One that we formerly rebelled against. This may mean that we have to walk out of step with the world. Certainly it will mean that we must be different from the world in our thinking, our manner of life, in the forms of entertainment we use, in how we conduct ourselves in our interpersonal relationships, etc. Part of the shame of Christ is our learning to be like Him instead of like the world! Don't even pretend to be carrying your cross unless you have surrendered every area of life to the will of God. Is God pleased with everything you do? Could you invite Jesus to listen to your music? Could you invite Him to watch TV with you? Could you take Him along on a date? Could Jesus join you in everything you do? If not, then someone needs to change, and folks, it isn't Him!)

I. We See Our Savior Condemned

II. We See Simon Compelled


A. The Providence Of God - It was no accident that Simon and his family were passing through Jerusalem at that precise moment. In fact, I believe that it was the providence of the Lord that allowed his path to cross that of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can't understand all the workings of our Lord, but I do know that He has a way of bringing people to Him that need to be saved. Remember the woman at the well, John 4:4-29? Remember the Ethiopian Eunuch, Acts 8:26-39? Apparently, God used this event this event to bring about the salvation of Simon. God brought a seeker together with the Savior!

(Ill. Remember how the providence of God worked in your life to bring you to Jesus. It was no accident that you were brought to Him! It was the providence and the grace of God!)

B. The Power Of God - Mark mentions Alexander and Rufus. These names must have been familiar to the Christians to which he was writing. Later, when Paul was closing His letter to the Romans, he mentions Rufus and the mother of Rufus. Even going so far as to adopt her as his own mother, Rom. 16:13. It is evident that something happened in the hearts of Simon and his family as they watched the Lord dying at Calvary that day. Whatever took place, God used this event to change Simon and his family forever! What a picture of the grace of God!

(Ill. You and I never saw Jesus die on the cross. We were not pressed into service to carry His cross that day. However, if you are saved, there came a day when you, just like Simon, came face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ. You may not have seen Him dying, but you knew that you needed what He had to give. When you believed in Him by faith, you were changed just like Simon and his family. What a difference Jesus makes in our lives!)

Conc: As I bring these thoughts together this evening, I need to ask you this question: Are you saved tonight? Are you trusting in Jesus, and Jesus alone for your salvation? Like Simon, are you bearing the Lord's cross and following Him through life, gladly bearing the shame and reproach of His great Name? If you are lost, you can be saved tonight. If you are saved, but you have allowed things to creep into your life that are not pleasing to the Lord, you can be cleaned up tonight. If you would be totally honest and admit that you aren't really bearing the cross. You are just kind of sliding through life and really aren't living for Jesus in a serious, heart commitment, well, there's hope for you too. Whatever your need, I invite you to come to Jesus and get it settled forever. Must Jesus bear His cross alone? Not if you and I will fall in with Him and join Him in a life that is totally committed and sold out to Him.

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