Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Matthew 27:32 NLT “32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.” Mark 15:21 NLT “21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.” Luke 23:26 NLT “26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.” From these concise biblical accounts, Simon of Cyrene was probably a victim of circumstance who was held by the Roman soldiers against his will in order to carry Jesus’ cross. He probably feared for his own life given the situation at hand and therefore did not resist their demands. What this does signify to me is Simon of Cyrene was simply carrying out orders because he had no choice whereas as Jesus willingly carried His cross for us His Church. In my view, for us to try and read more into Simon of Cyrene’s life other than what is already mentioned in the bible is unbiblical.
While we should not add to what is in the Bible, or make unfounded suppositions, all the information that IS given in Scripture was inspired and put there for a reason. Mark 15:21 makes a point of specifically mentioning that Simon of Cyrene (in modern-day Libya) -- as random as his participation in Christ's crucifixion may appear to have been -- was the father of Alexander and Rufus. To me, the only purpose of including this information would have been if the names of Simon's sons would have been recognizable to the original audience of Mark's gospel (that is, the early Christian church) through their involvement in the church. Thus, even if Simon himself was compelled to carry Christ's cross, his action ultimately resulted in salvation through the gospel message being brought to other people and geographical regions, and indicates that God can use events that occur through the most seemingly chance and even unwilling circumstances for His own glory.
Great question, Ma. Bernadette Lavin! Simon was a Cyrenian who was compelled to bear the cross after Jesus and who was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Matthew 27:32 --"As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross."). Shortly after, Jesus bore the cross, not only for Simon but for all men (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Peter 2:1 -- "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction."). 1 Peter 2:24 says concerning Christ, "Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by Whose stripes you were healed."
Simon of Cyrene was a truly fascinating figure. The Holy Spirit undoubtedly brought him directly into the dramas of the cross for several reasons. Simon had a clearly Jewish first name, yet he was from 'Cyrene' a city in northern Africa during the 'age of the Cadaces' when a matriarchal line, (traceable back to the 'Queen of Sheba' renowned for her wisdom and connection to King Solomon), ruled Africa much the way the patriarchal 'Caesars' ruled Europe. Simon was likely to be a 'black African' practitioner of Judaism living in a city that had also become an intellectual center through Greek influence. In particular, the 'Cyrenaic school' of hedonistic philosophy had a profound influence on the region, while also being heavily influenced itself by Jewish 'self-discipline.' The 'Cyrenes' taught that pleasure was the 'highest good' and that pain was to be avoided as clear evidence of evil thoughts. You might be tempted to think that Simon was chosen because he was 'black' and blacks were immediately forced to serve whenever the situation called for it. Except you would be about as wrong as you could be. At this time in history, blacks were seen in exactly the opposite way. Due to the great wisdom, intellect, skill and ferocity of their military conquests, (particularly in archery), black Africans were actually revered with almost god-like qualities. The renowned 'Eunuchs of the Candace' would even travel to the holy lands to pay their respects to the 'GOD of Solomon' during the high holy days, which is likely why Simon was also there in Israel at the time. We read of such men in the Bible, one famously encountering a deacon named Philip who led him to salvation in Christ, (Acts 8:26-40). People would see their shimmery 'golden chariots' (gilded with actual gold), and be amazed and awed. These men used to engage the local people in contests of wit, skill and puzzle-solving while offering life-changing opportunities to the winners with prizes and even positions in their royal kingdom. So approaching a 'black' person was frightening, even to the Romans, who saw them as unconquerable and unable to be enslaved. Ironically, this is why 'black slaves' were so highly prized once the line of the Candaces abandoned the GOD of Solomon and became corrupt, returning to the pagan 'witch doctors' for guidance once again, which led to their inevitable fall, the destabilization of much of Africa and conquest by 'whites.' How's THAT for a bizarre turnaround? So in order to understand the Holy Spirit's reasons for choosing Simon, we should first grasp that he was likely chosen not for his 'servile' attitude, but for the opposite reason. The Roman soldiers scanned the crowd over and over looking for someone who was actually capable of carrying the cross, had the stomach for it, and who might even do it out of a sense of pride because of his strength. That was Simon. It even seems likely that he was the 'crowd favorite' for the job, since he was 'black' and revered for his greatness. The irony for Simon is that this was probably the worst assignment ever, because, as someone influenced by a 'Cyrenaic' philosophy, 'pain' was to be avoided as the source of 'evil thoughts.' Talk about a personal challenge! It was not the 'pain' of physically carrying the cross itself, (which he had already 'conquered' by learning to enjoy physical challenges), but the agony of having to watch Christ suffering the dishonor and indignities of Roman crucifixion. Yet, the purpose of his new challenge was also to 'alleviate pain' for someone else, (at least for this 'leg' of the journey). Simon had probably never imagined using his background of skill and physical strength in this 'most extreme' of all possible ways. He was also likely a profound intellectual, (given the culture of Cyrene itself), so he couldn't turn off his brain and 'just work.' Crucifixion was about as 'uncivilized' as any human drama gets, yet GOD chose an intellectual for the holy task.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.