Have you ever wondered about the man who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross? Why was he chosen for such a task? What happened to him after the event? This is an effort to shed some light on these questions, and to take a look at part of the crucifixion story. To do this, we will have to see what all the gospels say. Let’s begin in the gospel of Mark chapter 15, and then proceed to the other gospels. Various pieces of information will be underlined within the text that will be significant to our topic at hand.
Why was Simon chosen
Pilate has just conformed to the people’s demands to crucify Jesus and set Barabbas free. And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. From the information here in Mark you need to understand a few things:
- Jesus was in the judgement hall being mocked by the soldiers
- Jesus was then led out of the judgement hall where they found Simon to bear his cross
- Simon carried the cross unto(this is important) Golgotha
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. So Matthew supports exactly what we saw in Mark.
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. Again, the same information we gathered from Mark and Matthew is stated here in Luke, but with one extra piece of information: Simon followed Jesus while carrying the cross.
Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he[Jesus] bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. Now, we see yet again some extra information. Here it is reported that Jesus carried the cross into, not unto, like we saw in Mark. This is NOT a bible contradiction. When you put all the gospels together, the events are as followed:
- Jesus was taken into the judgement hall to be mocked by the soldiers
- As they came out of the hall, they found Simon to carry Jesus’ cross
- Simon carries the cross behind Jesus unto Golgotha
- The soldiers place the cross on Jesus at Golgotha, and Jesus carries the cross into Golgotha
Most movies you watch about Jesus and the crucifixion show that Simon was chosen because Jesus was too weak from the beatings to carry his own cross. Yet, no support of that is found in the bible. Jesus never began to carry his cross after they left the judgement hall until they actually reached the place of the crucifixion. They chose Simon to continue to mock Jesus. The robe, crown of thorns, and everything else was mocking the fact that Jesus was said to have been a “king.” Therefore, as they come out of the judgement hall, they get the “king’s subject” to follow behind the king carrying the king’s cross. It was all mockery.
This entire event was pictured in the Old Testament by Abraham and Isaac – Genesis 22:3-8(a). And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Issac his son, and clave the wood for a burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering. The same events about Jesus happened with Isaac and Abraham.
- The donkey carried the wood unto the place of the sacrifice
- Isaac then carries the wood into the place of the sacrifice
You also see a very important prophesy regarding the death of Jesus Christ in these verses. Isaac was never sacrificed because God stopped Abraham from doing it. Isaac was a sinner just like you and me, and his blood would never have accomplished anything. But, Jesus was a spotless, undefiled, perfect sacrifice for you and me and He did exactly what Genesis said He would do: GOD WILL PROVIDE HIMSELF A LAMB. Jesus went to that cross on purpose to die for you and me, and to accomplish (Luke 9:31), and finish the work (John 4:34, John 19:30) of God the Father. Hallelujah!!
What happened to Simon after the event
If you return to Mark 15, you’ll notice the following words: And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. Why was this information included in the bible? I don’t believe God places words into the bible just to take up space. If you try to cross reference the name Alexander, you’ll find four other verses containing this name. I cannot tell for certain if one of them matches the name of Simon’s son in Mark 15; however, only one other verse in the bible includes the name Rufus. Romans 16:13: Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. It appears to be quite possible that Simon returned home to talk with his family about what he had to do for Jesus. As a result, Rufus believes on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and is saved by the grace of God. Again, I cannot be completely certain this is what happened, but with the information we have to go on, this seems to be quite possible as to what happened.
*All bible text comes from the Authorized King James Version and has been placed in this writing in bolded font. Where the text has been underlined, it is strictly for emphasis upon the writer’s discretion and is not intended to represent a change in the bible.*