There are times in our lives where we help other people, but they end up being a bigger help to us in return! There are times in our lives where our intention is to help others, and without expecting it, they help us even more so in return.
Mark 15:20-22 is a great example of this. Simon of Cyrene, watching the horrific events of Easter unfold before his very eyes, is forced by a Roman soldier to help carry Jesus' cross.
For years I thought of Simon as the hero in the story, and I've no doubt it was a great help to Jesus to have his cross carried for Him. Remember, Jesus had already experienced excruciating suffering at the hands of his accusers. We are, however, clearly told that Simon was 'forced' to carry the cross for Jesus, he hadn't volunteered.
There is little to be said of Simon, he was from Cyrene, in modern day Libya and had two sons called Alexander and Rufus. That's it.
The amazing thing about this story though, is that as much as Simon helped Jesus, Jesus is about to do something far greater for Simon.
Although we know very little about Simon, Jesus knew everything about the man that would help Him carry the cross. This encounter with Simon on the road to the cross was no accident, it was planned in advance of Simon's earthly existence (Ephesians 2:10). The very person Simon would help carry the cross for, had created him and designed this encounter.
Jesus knew every mistake and sin that Simon had ever made. And this is incredible! Jesus knew everything about Simon, and yet what he was about to do in dying on the cross would help Simon forever.
This is where we enter the story, Jesus knew in advance every sin and mistake we will make, and He went to the cross for us too!
Jesus weighed up our sin, our mess and our brokenness and He said, "you're worth it". That is love like no other (Romans 5:6-11).
The truth is this: I Am Greatly Loved.
It makes no sense, it's totally unjust, it doesn't weigh up – but that's the amazing love, grace and mercy of Jesus.
Here are the takeaways and questions from last Sunday's message:
(1) Admit you are powerless.
How do we move away from a place of guilt and shame in our lives?
How often do we try and fix things ourselves?
(2) Accept His forgiveness.
How do we experience God's forgiveness?
(3) Remind yourself daily.
Why is it important to remind ourselves daily 'I am greatly loved'?