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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Simon of Cyrene (Mk 15:21-15:21)

“They compelled

A passer-by,

Who was coming in

From the country,

To carry his cross.

It was

Simon of Cyrene,

The father

Of Alexander

And Rufus.”

 

καὶ ἀγγαρεύουσιν παράγοντά τινα Σίμωνα Κυρηναῖον ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ, τὸν πατέρα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Ῥούφου, ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:32, and Luke, chapter 23:26, but who had no mention of Simon being the father of Alexander and Rufus.  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.  Mark 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 current day Libya.  This Simon may have been in Jerusalem for the Passover.  Mark seemed to indicate that this Simon was well known with two sons, but Matthew and Luke did not mention the 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.

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

Simon of Cyrene (Mt 27:32-27:32)

“As they went out,

They came upon a man

From Cyrene,

Named Simon.

They compelled

This man

To carry

His cross.”

 

Ἐξερχόμενοι δὲ εὗρον ἄνθρωπον Κυρηναῖον, ὀνόματι Σίμωνα· τοῦτον ἠγγάρευσαν ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:21, who has a very detailed description of Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as well as Luke, chapter 23:26.  John, chapter 19:17, had no mention of Simon, since he said that Jesus carried his cross by himself.  As they went out from the courtyard (Ἐξερχόμενοι δ), the Roman soldiers came upon a man from Cyrene (εὗρον ἄνθρωπον Κυρηναῖον) that had a large Jewish community in current day Libya.  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.  Mark seemed to indicate that this Simon was well known with two sons, but Matthew and Luke did not mention his sons.