Summary: Who really carried the cross to calvary? Did Simon or Jesus? It may appear that Simon carried the cross for Christ but truly Christ carried the cross for Simon.
JESUS OR SIMON-THE CROSS CARRIER
In every young man’s life there comes a defining moment. The moment where a young boy knows that he has taken a large step towards manhood. This moment happens quickly but after it has past the boy will never go back again. It is the moment where a boy is on his bicycle and his father is running behind him to hold him up. The father does not let go of the seat because he is worried that his young son may clash into the ditch. Boys wonder if he is truly riding his bicycle or is his father merely holding him up. Who is really doing the work? Is the boy doing it or is the father really the one in control?
In the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke we are given a situation where it seems like one person is doing the majority of the work. It seems that a person has to be there to hold up Christ because Christ could not function on his own. There is just one verse from these accounts that provide a huge lesson. This one verse teaches a power principle. But it is hidden in the text. Only some people can see this secret truth. It is hidden from the swallow minded and from the carnally minded. Only the spiritual can see this powerful point. Only as Jesus says those who have ears, let them hear can hear the truth declared by the Gospel writers.
The text declares “And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross (Matt. 27:32). “And they pressed^ into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross (Mark 15:21). “And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus (Luke 23:26). The three gospel writers tell of the same events. Jesus is being lead to the site of his crucifixion. He is walking down the narrow pathway to the place of the skull. Typically people have stated that this was a small hill area that had the looks of a human skull in the land.
Jesus at this point would have been terribly tired from all the abuse that he has endured. He has been through various trails by the hands of the Pharisees and the high priest. He has stood before Pilate and Herod to be interrogated. The soldiers have beaten him over and over and over again. He would have been flogged with a whip made of leather with pieces of sharp bones in the rope. They would have hit him to the point where you could see his flesh and muscles of his back.
The soldiers have mocked him and spit on him over and over again. His face would have been bleeding and bloody would have covered his body. Christ would have lost a ton of blood during this punishment. Typically, some men died over a flogging. He would have been tired and weaken by the lost of blood and his muscles would been aching from the serve mistreatment. No wonder Christ needs some help in carrying his cross.
But I still propose to you that Christ carried the cross and not Simon. Let us look at the text to see. Each writer mentions some added details to this scene. Matthew mentions his name and where he is from. He is from Cyrene which is in North Africa today. He also mentions that he was forced into this service. Mark notes that he was coming from the country. This is the time of the Passover so he would have been coming to Jerusalem to celebrate with the Jews. Also, he is the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then Luke mentions that he was coming in from the country so he was coming from the different direction than Christ because Christ was being lead from out of the city and Simon is going into the city to worship. Also, Luke mentions that he has to carry the cross behind Jesus. Therefore, Christ his holding the top portion and Simon have the end part.
There are many theories on what this cross looks like. Some say that Christ is only carrying the top part of the tee of the cross while others state that Christ is only carrying the beam portion. Or maybe Christ has to carry the entirety of his cross. Nevertheless, we know for sure that this is a heavy and difficult task to perform when you have lost gallons of blood and you have been beaten. This makes us believe that Simon and Jesus were partners in carrying the cross. But I still affirm that Christ truly carried the cross for Simon.