A CHILD'S LIFE OF JESUS

SIMON OF CYRENE
Simon was a common name in Bible times. It
was as common then as John and Mary are
today.  Some people today are named Simon,
but not as many.   

This Simon was born in a foreign country
called Cyrene.  But now he lived in
Jerusalem.  He was a night watchman.  

Although it was spring and the crops weren't
up yet, he made sure wild animals like bears
and lions didn't walk all over the fields and
ruin the little baby crops at night.  He was
strong and chased the animals away.

Simon was coming into Jerusalem early in the
morning after he was through working.  
Suddenly he saw a big crowd of people.

Some of the people were glad someone was
going to be killed.  But other people were
sorry he was going to be killed and they were
crying.  The man to be killed was Jesus even
though he never had been bad.

There were two other men who were going to
be killed for doing bad.  They were thieves.  
They had taken things that did not belong to
them.

Each man had to carry a sign telling what his
crime was.  The sign given to Jesus read,
"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

The Temple leaders complained to Pilate about
it because they didn't want Jesus to be their
king.  Pilate refused to change it.  He still
liked Jesus.

The three men were given a big piece of wood
about as high as a man, and as wide as a
medium-sized tree to carry.  But Jesus was
so weak from all the beatings the night
before that he kept falling.  So he started
dragging his beam.  But he kept falling
anyway.

By that time Simon was close enough to see
what was going on.  A soldier spotted Simon
with all his muscles.  He ordered Simon to
carry the cross beam for Jesus.

Simon didn't want to.  He didn't want to help
anyone kill Jesus.  But Jesus looked at him in
a way that he understood it was okay to help.

Jesus still kept falling in the street because
he was so weak.  But sometimes he looked at
his friends in the crowd who were crying.

Jesus talked to his friends the best he could
with his mouth and eyes swelled from the
beatings.  He told them some day the whole
city of Jerusalem would be "killed".

They didn't understand.  But a few years
later many foreign Roman soldiers came to
Jerusalem and burned down the city.  Jesus
was thinking of others and feeling sorry for
them even when he was about to die.

They crossed the bridge out of Jerusalem and
started up the hill.  Jesus grew weaker and
weaker, so the soldiers had to finally carry
him the rest of the way.  Jesus loved us a
lot.