As the soldiers led him 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. Luke 23: 26
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Mark 15: 21
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. Matthew 27:32
A Google search will show you that Simon of Cyrene is one of the most noted, yet under described, people in the Easter story. Even though he is given but a sentence, he was of enough importance to be named. He was the man that carried the cross for Jesus, as noted in Luke, Mark and Matthew.
Scripture preceding these verses talks about Jesus being flogged and beaten before having to carry the cross. He is bloody and wearing a crown of thorns. He would have been weak and exhausted. Possibly too much so to carry the cross. So, the Romans pull a man out of the crowd and demand he do it instead, aka Simon.
Imagine the perspective of Simon as he followed Jesus through his darkest day. He would see the “women who mourned and wailed for him” (Luke 23: 27) and the mocking soldiers (Matthew 27: 27-31). It would be hard to not feel like that was directed at him.
This process of carrying the cross is also read in another verse of Matthew, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him. Simon literally does this on Good Friday. He received a taste of what Jesus was enduring secondhand.
Today, those who follow Christ can receive similar tribulations. There will be those who taunt our beliefs, try to turn us away from Him. They will mock as we carry the burden of the cross. Not something we would choose for fun (as you can see in the passages, Simon did not volunteer), but bearing a cross to follow Jesus is what we are all called to do. Only then can we follow Him into glory. I encourage you this Good Friday to pick up your cross and follow Jesus. For He (and He alone) will lead you on to Heaven.