Simon of Cyrene (Lk 23:26-23:26)

“As they led Jesus away,

They seized

Simon of Cyrene,

Who was coming

From the country.

They laid

The cross

On him.

They made him

Carry it

Behind Jesus.”

Καὶ ὡς ἀπήγαγον αὐτόν, ἐπιλαβόμενοι Σίμωνά τινα Κυρηναῖον ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ ἐπέθηκαν αὐτῷ τὸν σταυρὸν φέρειν ὄπισθεν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.

Luke said that as they led Jesus away (αὶ ὡς ἀπήγαγον αὐτόν), they seized Simon of Cyrene (ἐπιλαβόμενοι Σίμωνά τινα Κυρηναῖον), who was coming from the country (ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ).  They laid the cross on him (ἐπέθηκαν αὐτῷ τὸν σταυρὸν).  They made him carry it behind Jesus (φέρειν ὄπισθεν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  The Romans had the right to force any Jewish citizen into temporary service.  John, chapter 19:17, on the other hand, had no mention of Simon at all, since he said that Jesus carried his cross by himself, without any help.  Mark, chapter 15:21, said that they compelled a passer-by who was coming from the country (καὶ ἀγγαρεύουσιν παράγοντά τινα…ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ) to carry the cross for Jesus (ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ).  This passerby was Simon of Cyrene (Σίμωνα Κυρηναῖον), the father of Alexander and Rufus (τὸν πατέρα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Ῥούφου).  Cyrene had a large Jewish community in what is current day Libya.  Mark seemed to indicate that this Simon was well known with two sons, but Matthew and Luke did not mention his sons.  However, there was a Rufus mentioned at the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, chapter 16:13, that could be this son of Simon.  Matthew, chapter 27:32, said that as they went out from the courtyard (Ἐξερχόμενοι), the Roman soldiers came upon a man from Cyrene (εὗρον ἄνθρωπον Κυρηναῖον).  This man was named Simon (ὀνόματι Σίμωνα).  They compelled or forced him to carry Jesus’ cross (τοῦτον ἠγγάρευσαν ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ).  This Simon may have been in Jerusalem for the Passover.  Would you help carry the cross of Jesus?

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