Reading the Word
Mark 15:20–21 (ESV)
20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:31-32; Luke 23:26
Understanding and Applying the Word
Jesus had been flogged multiple times in the previous hours. Those beatings left him battered and too weak to carry his cross to the execution site. Therefore, the Roman soldiers drafted a man named Simon to carry Christ’s cross for him. We really know nothing more of Simon other than this incident. Some speculate that Simon’s son, Rufus, may be the same Rufus that Paul mentions in Romans 16:13. If so, perhaps this encounter had a profound impact on him. However, there is no way to be sure.
Jesus calls on all of his followers to take up their cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26). We are called to not simply be spectators of Christ’s pain and suffering, but we are called to live out Jesus’ teachings and to expect the same kinds of rejection and suffering that Jesus received. It is a small price to pay to belong to Christ and it is a great honor to follow in his steps.
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