What’s the Significance of Simon Carrying Jesus’s Cross?
Transcript of the audio We wish you a happy Good Friday, as we like to call it. Even though it is the most somber day of the year in the church calendar, it is a cheerful day. Last week, we spoke about how to account for both the repulsion and the thrill of the cross. Pastor John, and especially the character of Simon of Cyrene, is the subject of today’s discussion. Pastor John is one of the minor stories that make up the crucifixion story. It was brought to our attention by a podcast listener who wrote to us.
When I was reading through the tale of the crucifixion this week, something that I had previously overlooked struck my eye.
The importance of Simon bearing Jesus’ cross is not fully understood.
Famous Simon of Cyrene
Transcript of the Audio Have a blessed Good Friday, as we like to say around here. 🙂 Even though it is the most somber day of the year according to the church calendar, it is a cheerful day nonetheless. Before, we discussed how to account for the repulsion and pleasure of the cross. Pastor John tells a story about Simon of Cyrene, who is one of the minor characters in the crucifixion tale, which we will discuss today. It was brought to our attention by a podcast listener. Pastor John, how are you doing today?
It is recorded in Luke 23:26 that during the course of the crucifixion processional, ‘They kidnapped one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and set on him the cross, to bear it behind Jesus.’ I understand that God is in complete control, and that this was not an accident or a coincidental element included into the plot by mistake.
“Is this the place where God wants us to see what He’s doing?”
The fact that the crucifixion was associated with a person known as the father of Alexander and Rufus, however, suggests to me that Luke was thinking about something more than just the historical connection. Allow me to provide some recommendations. And that is essentially all there is to them. I’m happy to give them as suggestions rather than as declarations of certainty based on what I’ve observed so far. Maybe the people who are listening to me can see more than I can, and one of the recommendations will get closer to the sentiment, “Oh, that was definitely meant by Luke.” As a result, I’m assigning you some homework (kind of).
1. Served by a Foreigner
My initial hypothesis is based on the fact that Simon is characterized as coming from Cyrene. That is the name of a city in North Africa, which is now known as Libya. Because the name Simon was widespread among both Greeks and Jews, we are unable to determine whether he was Jewish or Gentile. We don’t know whether he was on a visit to Jerusalem or whether he actually resided there, but we do know that the Gospels call emphasis to the fact that this guy is of alien descent.
He is of African descent. As Luke may comment, “It should be emphasized that a foreigner — in this case, an African — served Jesus at his dying hour.” That is the first of my suggestions.
2. Pick Up Your Cross
Second, Luke is the only one of the four Gospels that mentions Simon as the one who carried Jesus’ cross behind him. In all of the other Gospels that mention this, it is simply said that he carried it. Luke 9:23, when he stated, “If anybody would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me,” would he want us to remember that? In other words, is Luke implying that this is a representation of what it means to be a disciple?
3. Sudden Suffering
In addition, if we believe that Luke was using this story as a parable of discipleship, as I have argued, may the fact that Simon was picked for the heavy work so quickly and unexpectedly be Luke’s method of teaching us that we do not always get to choose when we bear our crosses? “Simon was a genuine historical figure who happened to be there at a genuine historical time.” We aren’t always in control of when we experience pain and sorrow. They come at us in unexpected ways, terrifying ways, weighty ways, painful ways, and apparently random ways, but they are always there.
This might serve as a reminder to us that every minute of our existence, whether we are traveling to or from the country, we should be prepared to be taken away and thrown into the service of Jesus in a painful way.
4. Kept Alive for the Cross
Fourth, I believe the majority of people would conclude that Jesus’ insistence on having someone else bear his cross indicates that he had reached his breaking point and was unable to complete the journey on his own. However, what we may not consider as quickly is whether this act of enlisting Simon’s assistance was motivated by compassion, malice, or a mere need for speed. Here’s what I’m talking about. If he couldn’t carry his cross himself, someone else had to, because these troops are under orders to “Crucify him.” In addition, if it is revealed that they let him to die on the way, someone is going to be furious.
For another possibility — and this is something I had not considered — Matthew Henry suggests that they may have realized Jesus was about to die under the weight and were so bloodthirsty or afraid of punishment from Pilate that they wanted to make sure he survived the remainder of the torturous ordeal.
5. Heavenly Help
Fifth, and this is my final idea, only Luke informs us that Jesus is in anguish in the garden of Gethsemane and that he was assisted by an angel while he prayed. In Luke 22:43, an angel appeared to him and assisted him, supported him, and provided him with strength. Jesus cried out with loud screams and tears to the one who had the power to save him from death in Hebrews 5:7; he was heard because of his reverence for the one who could save him from death, according to the verse. “The call to suffer for Jesus is frequently unexpected, expensive, and appears to come out of nowhere.” Because of his reverence and holy dread, he was able to be heard.
- He prayed to God, pleading with him to spare him death, and his prayer was heard.
- In an essay published on Desiring God, I claim that Jesus was spared from death in response to his plea, not in the sense that he didn’t die, but in the sense that he was saved from the faith-destroying forces of death.
- And he was a living, breathing human being.
- And he begged with his Father, saying, “Please don’t let death ruin me in such a manner.” And an angel appeared to him and assisted him.
If so, could it possibly be that Simon’s stepping forward to assist Jesus in making it to the cross — and specifically to assist Jesus at that moment — was analogous to an angel appearing at the perfect moment when a humanly weak Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane — and now on the road leading to Calvary — required assistance to complete his mission.
What We Know
Whether or whether these five recommendations are part of Luke’s original aim as he writes, we do know the following:
- Simon was a real historical person who happened to be present at a real historical moment
- He was a foreigner, an African, who served Jesus in his final hour
- Carrying the cross behind Jesus is a beautiful and painful picture of our calling as disciples, according to Luke 9
- And carrying the cross behind Jesus is a beautiful and painful picture of our calling as disciples, according to Luke 9. Whether Luke intended for us to see it or not, it is true
- The call to suffer for Jesus is often sudden, costly, and seemingly random
- Simon’s assistance proved to be both a temporary relief and an additional source of suffering because it enabled Jesus to endure the horrifying experience of crucifixion for us
- We know that when Jesus cried out to his heavenly Father in Gethsemane, he was given assistance. He need assistance in order to maintain his composure under pressure. His prayers were heard and answered by God. These were the most difficult moments in Jesus’ life
Oh, what feelings of love and gratitude should rise in our hearts as we reflect on all of these things.
Who helped Jesus carry the cross?
Answer When Jesus was finally compelled to carry His cross to the spot where He would be executed by the Romans after being cruelly tortured, He was frightened. In the beginning, Jesus carried His own cross (John 19:17). The fact that Jesus was no longer capable of carrying His cross was most likely owing to the tremendous agony He had previously experienced at the hands of the authorities. A man was obliged to assist Jesus in carrying the cross as a result of this decision by the Roman troops.
- Cyrene was an ancient city in Libya, Africa, that was destroyed by the Romans.
- It is probable that Simon was a black man, but we cannot be certain because the Bible does not mention this.
- There was also a substantial Jewish community in the city, as well as Jewish proselytes (see Acts 2:10).
- Simon of Cyrene is only referenced once again in the Bible, in these three verses from the Synoptic Gospels.
- A popular belief based on certain church tradition is that Simon of Cyrene became a Christian later in life — although some theories hold that he was already a follower of Christ prior to the crucifixion — and rose to prominence as a leader in the early church.
- Assuming that this is the case, it lends support to the notion that Simon and his family were important members of the early church.
- Simon of Cyrene was the man who accompanied Jesus on his journey to Calvary.
- Hopefully, after witnessing up close and personal the agony Jesus underwent on our behalf, Simon of Cyrene came to accept Jesus as his Savior as well as his Lord and Savior.
Simon of Cyrene: The Man Who Carried Jesus’ Cross
Recently, I was roaming about the Santa Barbara Mission — the historical Spanish edifice constructed in the 18th century by Franciscan missionaries and Native Americans — when I had a flashback to a time when I was in high school. Several miniature oil paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross, which are a step-by-step ancient recounting of the crucifixion narrative, may be seen in the old church there. All fourteen stations, which are arranged in a semi-circle around the exterior of the sanctuary, are painted to portray the story of the “Passion.” As with most of my visits to historic Catholic structures, the sensory religious experiences of my childhood came flooding back to me: countless masses, liturgies, and plays throughout the many Lenten seasons all filled my mind in the first station, the second station, and so on.
- I was transported back to my childhood.
- Later, after adopting my Bible-reading Protestantism, I really went back and studied the parts of Scripture that were the inspiration for the fifth station.
- As they walked out the door, they came upon a Cyrenean guy named Simon.
- — Matthew 27:32 (NASB) Also, they forced a bystander, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country and who happened to be the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross for him.
- — Luke 23:26 (New International Version) We learn something new about Simon of Cyrene from each of the Scriptures, and we learn something even more essential about our own lives with Jesus as a result of each of these accounts.
- The thing Simon was carrying is explicitly stated in Matthew and Mark: “hiscross.” Despite the fact that this guy, Jesus, whom all of the gospel writers plainly understood to be God incarnate, requires aid at a time of pain, it is a profound statement.
- Why, therefore, does he require the support of what appears to be an arbitrary individual?
This is a characteristic that God does not require, and it is also not an attribute that anybody has ever demanded of him.
According to our reasoning, God’s almighty muscles should be flexed during his periods of misery and suffering.
Interestingly, this withholding is inherent in the character of Jesus, who, “though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7; cf.
Surprisingly, Jesus let a man he made to assist him in carrying the cross.
What type of God would enlist the assistance of his own creation?
Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country and was the father of Alexander and Rufus, is introduced to us in the gospel of Mark, which provides us with the most detailed description of who he is (Mark 15:21).
At the time of the distribution of Mark’s gospel (about 65 AD), Simon of Cyrene — and, much more likely, his children, who are also mentioned — may have been located in order to confirm the events described in the gospel.
“, “Did Jesus truly claim to be who he claimed to be?” Mark is convinced that they will respond positively.
Many academics believe that the “Rufus” who is mentioned and commended by St.
However, it is also significant that Simon is mentioned here since, strangely enough, there aren’t that many names in the Bible.
How many “passerbyers” are there in the New Testament who aren’t mentioned?
In the centuries afterward, billions upon billions of human people have lived and died, and we are all familiar with Simon for what he accomplished on Good Friday.
Finally, it is crucial that Simon was the one who carried the cross “behind Jesus,” as Luke describes it in his version.
In the days leading up to his arrest and betrayal, Jesus told those who want to follow him, “If anybody wishes to follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
We are the ones who shoulder the cross that Jesus has provided for us.
The reason for this, according to St.
Simon of Cyrene, bearing the cross and following behind Jesus, exemplifies what it means to be a disciple.
He has left and is traveling to a location that we are unable to reach.
Nonetheless, we follow in his footsteps, carrying the cross in our hands. Therefore, Christians today join in with the hymn based on the words of the martyr Sadhu Sundar Singh: “The cross stands in front of me, the world behind me.” “There is no turning back, there is no turning back.”
Why Is it Important That Simon of Cyrene Carried the Cross?
Everything that is written in the Bible is accurate. The Bible does not mince words, from the veracity of all reported statements and occurrences to the veracity of Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). It is a book that does not mince words. In order to represent God’s intentions, the words of Scripture were carefully chosen by the Holy Spirit, and everything in them has significance. As a result, when we read brief biographies of persons, we may be assured that they are in the Word for a reason.
- Cyrene was established as a trading center by the Greeks about the seventh century B.C., and it was located in the area of Cyrenaica, a coastal town on the Mediterranean Sea.
- Cyrene was called after Kyrene, who was the daughter of a Thessalian monarch (Hypseus) and a water nymph who lived in the ancient world.
- People from Cyrene were able to hear Peter preach as though he were speaking in their own tongue.
- However, we cannot be certain because the Bible does not say anything about Simon’s ethnic background.
- Scripture does not state anything, and we must refrain from asserting something that the author of the Scriptures did not intend.
- In Matthew, it is said that “they discovered a man of Cyrene by the name of Simon.” “They compelled this man to bear the cross,” says the author.
- “And as they brought Him away, they caught one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and set the cross on him, so that he would carry it after Jesus,” according to the Gospel of Luke.
Why Is it Important That Simon of Cyrene Carried the Cross?
A common occurrence in Scripture is the author’s explanation or revelation of why specific events and persons are referenced, whether it is to provide lessons for Christians today or to provide more substantiation to a narrative. In the instance of Simon of Cyrene, the latter appears to be the case. He looks to be an afterthought intended to add excitement to the account, but because the Lord does not waste words, his presence by the Gospel authors must have some significance. There are just a handful of persons named in the whole Bible.
- God is always intentional, and it’s possible that He ordered the soldiers to select Simon of Cyrene to bear the Lord’s cross for a part of His agony on the road to Golgotha, as they did.
- What a valuable lesson in humility.
- Simon did more than just watch; he actively participated in the Lord’s progress toward crucifixion and death.
- Perhaps the crowd pressed together to catch a glimpse of the Christ, to whom they had just exclaimed “Hosanna!
- “He was despised and rejected by others,” writes the prophet Isaiah.
- Among the scoffers were disciples such as John the Baptist, Jesus’ mother, and Mary Magdalene, who were all there (John 19:25-26).
- Simon is summoned to duty in each of the stories narrated.
It has been suggested that we would like not to bear our “crosses” as well, as a way of spiritualizing Simon’s actions.
Was it a sense of sympathy that drove them to do it?
The soldiers were given orders to bring Jesus to Golgotha, where he would be crucified and killed.
Perhaps, as they walked alongside Him, He appeared to be on the verge of passing out in His battered condition.
Commanding officers expected the troops to carry out their instructions in their entirety and not to let one of the men destined for crucifixion to die before their tasks were done.
Simon’s service to Jesus may indicate the Father’s deed of love toward His Son in order to momentarily alleviate Jesus’ suffering.
What a gracious gift from God to include Simon in His Son’s final earthly trip (in His first advent).
This is shown implicitly by Simon of Cyrene, who gives us an example of what it looks like.
The world system seeks to persuade us with its diversions and enticements, just as Simon, who was carrying the Lord’s load, was most certainly subjected to insults and offers.
One might pray and think on the Lord’s arduous journey to the Place of the Skull while doing the trek.
What Happened to Simon of Cyrene after the Resurrection?
Following the Resurrection, there is no direct reference of Simon of Cyrene in the Scriptures. According to tradition, Simon traveled to Egypt and preached the Gospel. In the next year, according to the apocryphalActs of Simon and Judas, Simon was martyred by being sawed in half with a sword in 100 A.D. The Cyrenians, on the other hand, are referenced in Acts 6:9. These individuals are members of the group that argued with Stephen because he performed “great marvels and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).
- According to Mark’s Gospel, Simon had two sons (Rufus and Alexander).
- Nonetheless, Mark makes reference to them for a cause that we are not aware of and may never be aware of.
- He was the one who carried the cross of Christ.
- May we all, in recognition of what Jesus has done for us, carry our own crosses on a daily basis.
- (End Game Press, February 2022).
- Lisa is a member of Word Weavers, Int’l (where she serves as a critique partner and mentor), AWSA, ACFW, Serious Writer Group, and the British Romance Writers’ Association.
- Lisa and Stephen have two children.
- We’ve put together this collection of articles to assist you in your study of individuals whom God decided to lay before us as examples in His Word.
- The Life and Times of Elijah from the Bible Ruth’s Life – 5 Essential Faith Lessons to Take Away Queen Esther’s Biblical Story is a must-read.
- Mary Magdalene’s Biography in the Bible
What Happened to Simon of Cyrene?
Simon of Cyrene is one of those intriguing characters who appears just briefly in the crucifixion account, but whose significance is made all the more apparent by the fact that we only get a fleeting sight of him. He’s just there for a split second before disappearing, but what he did and how he got there tells us something very important about the situation at hand.
Who Was Simon of Cyrene?
Simon of Cyrene is referenced three times in the New Testament: in Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26. In Mark’s version, he is mentioned as having two sons, Rufus and Alexander, whereas Luke’s version states that Simon was traveling to Jerusalem “from the country” to be with them. Jesus, whom Pilate had sentenced to death by crucifixion, was walking out of Jerusalem, escorted by the Romans, bearing his cross to the place of execution, called Golgotha. The procession to Golgotha was a public event in which Jesus (along with the two thieves who were also condemned) marched along streets with onlookers cheering them on.
While Jesus was going, the Romans stopped Simon, who happened to be passing by, and forced him to carry the cross for him.
A specific period of time is not stated, although it is possible that Simon carried the cross behind Jesus all the way to Golgotha. It is customary to have two Stations of the Cross: one with Simon bearing the cross and the other with pious women crying as they view Jesus heading toward Golgotha.
Why Did Simon of Cyrene Carry Jesus’ Cross?
None of the three narratives explains what particularly prompted the Romans to believe that someone had to assist them in carrying the cross, or why they chose Simon to do so. Some people, however, have spoken about the medical aspects of crucifixion, which may provide us with some insight. Lee Strobel had an interview with a medical expert for his bookCase for Christ, and the interviewee mentioned that it was usual for crucifixion victims to be flogged before to their execution, something we know occurred with Jesus (John 19:1-4).
- The whips used by the Romans during that time period were harsh, consisting of numerous leather strips with imbedded pieces of glass or metal.
- He also pointed out that when someone is under extreme stress to the point of sweating blood, like Jesus was in Gethsemane (Luke 22:40-46), their skin becomes more sensitive, making the flogging more more damaging.
- For some, the psychological strain of carrying his own execution device would have been too much to bear, and his injuries and blood loss would have made it even more difficult for him to bear.
- As a result, it’s extremely probable that the Romans were aware that Jesus was having difficulty carrying the cross.
- The procedure of crucifixion was well-practiced for the Romans; they had done it many times before, and as with any well-practiced execution technique, there was a schedule to follow in order to carry it out.
- In addition, it would imply that the intended impact of public executions, which is to humiliate the victim while terrifying bystanders, may be undermined.
- That would be referred to as “poor form” in the military.
- Because the text does not provide us with an explanation, it is difficult to determine why the Romans singled out Simon.
- Slavery practices began in the 1600s, and before then, racism based on other ethnic criteria (religion, language, and so on) was more frequent.
However, it’s probable that the Romans, who were members of the conquering class who believed themselves to be racially superior to everyone, singled Simon out because he was dark-skinned and they intended to humiliate him, as well as everyone else.
What Happened to Simon after the Crucifixion?
Simon of Cyrene is not mentioned in the Bible prior to the Crucifixion, nor is he mentioned at any point later. However, while it is stated in Acts 2:10 that other people from Cyrene were there at the Pentecostal event and heard the disciples speaking in tongues, there is no explicit reference of Simon being among those present. In addition, he is not mentioned in any official early church sources. As a result, we have no way of knowing what transpired after his meeting with Jesus. Simon is the subject of a few urban tales and wild conjecture here and there.
- However, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this apocryphal book is really about the apostle Simon the Zealot, therefore it is possible that this is a mistake.
- An article in the Southern Nebraska Register includes claims that Simon’s sons Alexander and Rufus were engaged in the early Roman church, which is supported by the evidence in the article.
- Tradition also claims that Peter started the Roman church (he was subsequently murdered in Rome by Nero), and some papers mention a guy called Rufus who was a member of the Roman church at the time of its founding.
- It is possible that Mark is highlighting items that his specialized audience would find interesting during those moments in which he makes unique comments (local connections and so forth).
- For example, because the Gospel of John is targeted to a Gentile audience, rather than beginning with a discussion of Jesus as Messiah, it begins with a discussion of Jesus as theLogos(word), a notion that Gentile audiences who understand Greek would be more familiar with.
Why Is His Story Important?
While Simon of Cyrene is not a well-known biblical figure, and we should be cautious about placing too much emphasis on traditions about him that we cannot corroborate, he plays an extremely significant part in the account of Jesus’ death. In addition, the fact that someone else was brought in to carry the cross serves as a reminder that this was a public gathering. Jesus wasn’t dying for our sins in front of a small group of people; his death, like that of all crucifixion victims, was transformed into a public spectacle.
- His divinity was complete, but his humanity was complete as well, and the flogging-walking-crucifixion regimen was straining Jesus’ human body to its breaking point even before he was nailed to the cross.
- Seeing good people weep, cruel people taunt, and being close enough to Jesus that he would have felt that all of this attention was being aimed at him would have been a surreal experience for Simon.
- A number of commentators have pointed out that Simon’s involvement in bearing the cross behind Jesus serves as a reminder of the stance God expects us to adopt as Christ-followers.
- A striking metaphor for what it means to follow Jesus is the idea of Simon laboring to carry a heavy cross, being drawn into the event’s shame and anguish, and doing so while walking behind a man who was God incarnate.
- A regional contest sponsored by the Colorado Press Association Network awarded him the First Prize for Best Feature Story in 2020, and he was the winner.
- He has also served on the editorial boards of several magazines.
- This page is a part of ourPeople of Christianitycatalog, which tells the tales, explains the meaning, and highlights the significance of well-known figures from the Bible and throughout history.
- What Caused the Apostle Paul’s Death?
- Deborah was a biblical character.
Who was she? Was Moses a historical figure or a mythical one? The Bible tells the story of King Solomon. In the Bible, who was Lot’s wife and what was her name? The Biblical character Jezebel was a woman named Jezebel. Who Was the Prodigal Son, and What Was His Story?
Why Did Jesus Need Help Carrying His Cross?
It is a well-known narrative that appears in three of the four gospel accounts: Soldiers confronted a man called Simon of Cyrene on the way to the cross and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross the entire way to Golgotha, also known as the “Place of the Skull,” where he was cruelly executed by nailing him to the cross in broad daylight. While the details of each narrative varied slightly (one informs us the names of Simon’s sons, another says Simon was on his way into town from the country), the underlying themes remain consistent.
Why did Jesus require assistance in bearing His cross?
What Does the Bible Say about the Carrying of Jesus’ Cross?
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, together known as the Synoptic Gospels, include the biblical narrative of this event.
- Among the shortest versions is Matthew’s, which merely informs readers that “while they were heading out, they came upon a man from Cyrene, called Simon, and they forced him to bear the cross.” The Bible says (Matthew 27:32)
- “A particular 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 bear the cross,” according to Mark’s gospel narrative. They took Jesus to a spot known as Golgotha (which literally translates as ‘the place of the skull’).” 15:21-22
- (Matthew 15:21-22)
- Luke also records that as the soldiers were leading Jesus away, they apprehended Simon of Cyrene, who was on his way into town from the country, and forced him to bear the cross behind Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke. His followers included a significant number of ladies who wept and mourned for him.” (Luke 23:26-27
- Matthew 23:26-27)
Only the Gospel of John does not include Simon of Cyrene, instead emphasizing that Jesus carried His own cross on His own initiative (John 19:17).
Who Is Simon of Cyrene?
Despite the fact that the Bible doesn’t say much about him, we do know that Cyrene was a seaside city in northern Africa, at the border with eastern Libya. Given the inclusion of Simon’s sons Alexander and Rufus in Mark’s book, it is safe to assume that they were well-known to people who read it. Rufus is addressed again in the book of Romans (16:13), and his mother is recognized as being “similar in character to the author of that book,” however we are not positive if this is the same Rufus from the previous chapter.
- According to some scholars, the inclusion of the sons implies that they eventually became disciples of Christ and were involved in the early church, possibly as a result of their father’s involvement in the cross-bearing procession.
- What’s the deal with Simon?
- Some believe he may have been a Jew who had recently relocated to Cyrene and was now on his way to Jerusalem, and that the soldiers chose him for the assignment because of his Jewish look.
- No one can tell what race, nationality, or religion he belongs to based on these verses.
Why Did Jesus Need Help with the Cross?
We don’t know if Jesus need assistance; all we know is that the soldiers compelled Simon to assist him. Researchers believe that, following the thrashing Jesus experienced, He would have been in poor physical condition to carry anything so heavy all the way to the cross, at least from the perspective of a human being. According to historians, the majority of the time, the condemned were compelled to carry their crossbeam, which weighed between 30 and 40 pounds on average. In the days leading up to his death on the Via Dolorosa, often known as the “road of sorrows,” a meandering route that runs from Jerusalem to Golgotha, the Bible tells us that Jesus was beaten with fists and whipped, and he was crowned with thorns and pounded repeatedly with a rod (Mark 14:65;Mark 15:15,19,Matthew 26:67;Matthew 27:29).
But, clearly, Jesus is more than a human being; as God’s Son, he is a member of the Holy Trinity, the Triune God, who is three in one, co-equal and co-eternal, and as such, he is more than a human being.
The reason many academics feel Jesus “needed” aid was not because he was weak, but rather for a variety of causes unrelated to his own personal frailty. A walking symbol, an actual cross-bearer, was required in this terrible time. This was the person who came to the rescue.
What Did Simon of Cyrene Symbolize?
First and foremost, Simon is of Cyrene, which means he is a foreigner. It doesn’t matter if he’s Jewish or not; he comes from somewhere other than this region, and his sheer existence pulls “the other” into the picture. The Holy Spirit swiftly convinced the apostles that their message was not only for Israel, but for everyone—Jews, Gentiles, and everyone else—very soon after the church’s founding in Jerusalem. Second, Simon serves as a bodily example of discipleship for us. The following is what Jesus said to His followers in Luke 9:23-24: “Whoever wishes to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross everyday and follow me.” It is true that anyone wishes to preserve their life will lose it, but whoever wishes to risk their life for me will save it.” This depiction shows a person really picking up the cross and walking behind Jesus to the location of his crucifixion.
- It’s a fantastic illustration of what it means to be a disciple.
- It’s also not always simple to take a position against popular culture, which pushes for “an eye for an eye” or “do what seems right,” among other things.
- Because of this, we carry the cross for him and spread the gospel because he has commanded it of us.
- According to the Bible, Simon of Cyrene walked alongside Christ as he was bearing the cross (Luke 23:26).
- The act of carrying the cross was also imposed upon Simon of Cyrene, indicating yet another crucial truth: we are not always given the option of choosing to do so.
- He, on the other hand, did not.
- He had been “compelled” to bear the cross.
For us as Christians, it is reassuring to know that the cross is more than a memorial to Jesus’ death.
We bear that cross with Christ, bearing that load in remembrance of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
Further reading may be found at: What Is the Importance of the Cross in Our Lives?
Why Did Jesus Become Sin When He Was Completely Sinless?
What prophecies from the Old Testament foretold the birth of Jesus and the Crucifixion?
Her novel, The Memory Garden, was nominated for the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award, which she received for her work as a Christian novelist.
Jessica Brodie’s fiction may be found at jessicabrodie.com, as well as her religious blog.
She also does a weeklyYouTubedevotional on her channel. You may also find her on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others. She’s also written a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices for When You’re Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed, which you can get here.
Who Helped Jesus Carry the Cross?
Whenever we read about the crucifixion, we read a tale that is full with numerous elements, each of which has a specific significance. Among those details is the story of Simon of Cyrene, a man whose legacy has had a profound influence on the world. What was the identity of Simon of Cyrene, why did he bear the crucifixion of Jesus, and what does this have to do with us? ‘The Crucifixion’ begins in the Antonia Fortress, located in the middle of Jerusalem, where Jesus would have been convicted, flogged, and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
The route would have consisted of around a half-mile of curving road, and it is on this road that Simon meets face to face with Jesus and becomes a character in the narrative.
The Story of the Man Who Helped Jesus Carry the Cross
Simon of Cyrene receives barely a fleeting reference in the Scriptures; his name appears in only three lines, all of which are concerned with carrying the cross for Jesus on his behalf. This occurrence is reported in three places in the Bible: Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26. The fact that he is referenced by three of the four Gospel authors indicates that he is significant enough to warrant a single mention in the Bible. Interesting also is the fact that each of these three authors, while providing us with the identical narrative of the same incident, provides us with the information in a little different manner than the others.
We can observe the varied components of the tale if we look at these three verses in conjunction with John’s version, which does not include Simon:
- As they were about to leave, they came upon a man from Cyrene called Simon, and they forced him to bear the cross
- Matthew 27:32 They compelled him to carry the cross because he was a Cyrenean named Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who happened to be passing by on his way into town from the country. The soldiers kidnapped Simon of Cyrene, who was on his way into town from the country, and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross behind them. Luke 23:26- As the soldiers dragged Jesus away, they arrested Simon of Cyrene, who was on his way into town from the country. John 19:17- He went out to the site of the Skull (which is known in Aramaic as Golgotha), carrying his own cross.
The Gospel of Matthew informs us that they were leaving, but from whence were they leaving? Answer: Jesus and the others who would be crucified on that day were on their way out of Jerusalem since the crucifixion would take place outside the city gates. Apparently, Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus, according to Mark’s account. What is the significance of this, and how would Mark be aware of it? The most likely interpretation is that the early readers of this Gospel were aware of Simon’s identity and that his children were also familiar with him.
That well, Mark informs us that Simon was on his way in, which indicates that he was actually traveling in the other direction and heading into Jerusalem at the same time as Jesus and the others were heading out.
In a more profound sense, this represents the well-understood attitude of each disciple: that of following their Lord.
When it came to speed and distance, Simon could only match Jesus’s efforts, and we all know that Jesus was unable to bear the cross on his own strength.
When we read the Gospel of John, we learn simply that Jesus carried the cross out of the city, but we don’t learn about any of the events that took place after Jesus had left the city.
What Do We Know about Simon of Cyrene?
We can tell a little bit about Simon just by looking at his name. In Jesus’ day, the name “Simon” was a common given name, and it is a name that is shared with numerous other individuals in the New Testament, the most notable of whom being the Apostle Simon Peter. Simon is a Greek word that means “hearer” or “he has heard,” and it must have had a very deep significance for these individuals in particular, who had physically heard the good news of Jesus and had been a part of that good news in such a direct and intimate way.
Cyrene was a city in Northern Africa, in what is now modern Libya, that had a considerable Jewish population at the time of its founding.
We do not know for definite whether he was a Jew or a Gentile, but it is reasonable to believe that he was in Jerusalem for the Passover holiday, since many Jews from all over the world traveled to Jerusalem for this feast, which was the most significant holiday that the Jewish people observed.
This might be anything from baggage to tools to, in this instance, a crucifix.
This is most likely the circumstance that prompted Simon to take up the cross and die in Jesus’ place.
All we know is that he was present, he appeared to be capable, and it was evident that Jesus had become too weak to bear the cross on his own.
Is There Anything Unusual about Jesus’ Path to the Crucifixion?
The practice of crucifixion in ancient Rome was not uncommon; in fact, it was often used as a form of lethal punishment and intimidation by the Romans. Crucifixion was seen as an unfit punishment for Roman people since it was a sad, humiliating, and painful method of death, according to the Romans. Even the phrase “ex cruc iating” comes from the Latin word for crucifixion, crucis (which means cross). Because of these heinous tactics, the Romans were able to maintain their grasp on power. Additionally, the route that Jesus traveled, known as the Via Dolorosa (the Path of Sorrows), and the hill where the crucifixion took place, known as Calvary (in Latin) or Golgotha (in Greek), were presumably familiar locations for this type of drama.
What Should Christians Take Away from the Story of Jesus and Simon?
The narrative of Simon of Cyrene, which we read about today, depicts a man who was physically forced into the very core of the gospel story. When you’re taken from the crowd by haters of the Roman Empire and made to bore the cross of a condemned man, it must have been a terrifying experience. Simon felt the weight of it on his shoulders and went away with the blood of Christ still on his person, the blood that would soon fulfill all prophecy and atone for the sins of the entire world, still on his person.
It was when Jesus took up the cross and died upon it that the weight of all our sins was lifted from his shoulders.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me,” Jesus had told his followers in Matthew 16:24.
Our everyday sacrifices may have an influence on others that we may never know about, and it may have an impact that extends beyond our own lifetime.
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In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to new places, and writing about his travels and adventures.
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