Mark 15:21 Commentary - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
21. Simon a Cyrenian Cyrene was a distinguished city in northern Africa, in which, though consisting mostly of Greeks, a Jewish colony was located. Having much intercourse with Jerusalem, they maintained a regular synagogue at that city. Simon appears at this time to have been a resident, at any rate temporarily, either of Jerusalem or its adjacent country, inasmuch as it is from the country he is coming when he is so sadly met by the procession of our Lord’s executioners. Very probably he was known to be a favourer of Jesus, and for that reason was pressed into this cruel service. This probability is corroborated by the facts which we learn from the Acts of the Apostles, that a number of the early converts to Christianity were members of the Cyrenian synagogue. (Compare Act 2:10; Act 6:9; Act 11:19-20.) Mark says that he was father of Alexander and Rufus, names which appear to be favourably familiar to his Christian readers. Impressive to their hearts must have been the thought that their own father had borne the Saviour’s cross. If the tradition be true, that Mark wrote his Gospel at Rome, it is highly probable that the Rufus mentioned in Rom 16:13 was one of the sons here named. Bear his cross Probably the Saviour had fainted under the burden of the cross, and Simon was made to bear it entirely in his room or to share a part of its weight. Indeed, when we consider how large and heavy the beam of a cross must be to support at a height the body of a man, it seems impossible that the entire cross could have here been borne. Some have thought, with apparent truth, that it was but the cross-beam that was carried through the streets, as the indication and the token of shame.
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Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Daniel D. Whedon (1808-1885) was a prominent university professor, theologian, and author. He served as Professor of Ancient Languages at Wesleyan University in Connecticut; as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Michigan; and as editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review from 1856 to1884. He authored numerous books including Commentary on the New Testament (New York: Carlton & Porter, 1860); Commentary on the Old Testament (New York: Nelson & Phillips, 1873); What is Arminianism? (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1879); and Essays, Reviews, and Discourses (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1887).