The seventh and final shocking sin is, of course, the crucifixion itself (vv. 31-32).
Normally the victim was forced to walk naked to the place of crucifixion and was scourged along the way. But since Jesus had already been scourged this custom was abandoned. If it had been repeated, Jesus may well have died before reaching Calvary.
Custom also required that the victim carry the cross-beam on which he would be nailed. It weighed between 30 and 40 pounds. But it was physically impossible for Jesus to do so. Following the emotionally tense atmosphere in the upper room, the agonies of Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, the denial by Peter, the trial and torture by the Sanhedrin, several hours in a filthy dungeon, another trial by Pilate and Herod, the ordeal of being scourged, and the abuse from the soldiers, it comes as no surprise that Jesus was incapable of carrying the beam.
Simon was probably a Jewish pilgrim who had journeyed to Jerusalem for Passover. He was from Cyrene, the equivalent of modern Libya. There is an important lesson for us in his role.
In seeing Simon carrying the cross of Jesus to Calvary we ought to see ourselves carrying the cross we justly deserved to our own Calvary. It is we who escorted Jesus to Calvary and nailed him to our cross. Might we not imagine ourselves in Simon's place, bearing that heavy load to Calvary, not knowing if the soldiers might decide to impale our bodies to it as well, only then to hear the voice of Jesus say: "Give it here friend; it is for me to suffer thereon, not you."
Let us never forget who this is that suffers such brutal treatment from the hands of men like you and me. Let us never forget the intrinsic excellency of his person and the brightness of God's glory which he embodied. Jesus is the express image of the invisible God, sovereign over all, the eternal Word by whom all things were created and through whom all things are continually sustained. He