Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 27:27-38
We are the channel of blessings for the whole world as well as for our family members. We are here today worshipping God. Some came with joy and gladness and some came because Mom told them to. (!)
Today’s Bible passage tells us that we are used by God even when we are forced to do God’s work! The Roman soldiers mocked Jesus and led him to his crucifixion. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. (He is not one of the disciples, Simon Peter!)
However, do you know what happened to him? When we read Romans chapter 16, we find this passage: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.” (Romans 16:13) The Apostle Paul is mentioning many names of the leaders of the Roman church, greeting them. Rufus is among those important people. Who is Rufus, then? Walter W. Wessel suggests and many believe that he is the son of Simon of Cyrene! [Walter W. Wessel. “Mark.” In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. Vol. 8. Grand Rapids: Regency (Zondervan), 1984. Page 778.]
We can assume that Simon met Jesus there for the first time. He was forced to carry the Cross. However, his life was changed completely afterwards. Then his family became followers of Jesus. Rufus’ mother was Simon’s wife. The Apostle Paul says in Romans that “she has been a mother to me, too!”
In other words, even though Simon carried the Cross involuntarily, his family became important members of the early church. What happened? He saw Jesus. He saw Jesus being mocked and insulted. Simon saw Jesus still loving others. He saw Jesus being flogged and stripped. Simon met the eyes of Jesus who was still forgiving and praying for persecutors and by-standers. Even though Jesus was mocked and tortured, Jesus looked like the King of the kings! It changed everything!
That can happen today when Jesus is with us. When we are in Jesus and Jesus in us, people will see the holy God through us. I pray that visitors and newcomers meet that Jesus in us. I pray that visitors should see the hope and faith in eternal life in the eyes of our church member who lost her husband. I pray that new members should see the joy and peace of the risen Christ in the life of our church member who lost his job. I pray that non-Christian friends find dignity and serenity in the soul of our church member who is suffering from chronic illness and therapy.
When visitors, newcomers, and non-Christians experience such holiness through us, I pray that their lives will be completely changed. They will not be the same people any more. Their family members will be the leaders of the churches of the next generation. I dream of those next generation leaders whose lives are transformed by the parents who experience holiness. While everybody struggles to win their rights in the competition, we can show how to sacrifice our rights and how to serve others. We can change the life of the next Simon together when we carry our own crosses! The way of the Cross will lead us home!
• When did you meet Jesus in the lives of other Christians?
• What would be your cross that you would willingly carry for Jesus and for others?