Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Who Carried The Cross?

Christ Carrying Cross

Did Jesus or Simon carry the cross?

HUMANIST ACCUSATION: In describing Jesus being led to his execution, John 19:17 recounts that he carried his own cross. But Mark 15:21-23 disagrees by saying a man called Simon carried the cross.

Do you have the answer? I think we can guess the right answer without even looking at scripture. Here are my thoughts. What you do think?

Jesus starts to carry the cross, but He has been severely beaten and is too weak. Then Simon is "volunteered" and carries the cross the rest of the way. That's the answer.

Here is the scripture:

John 19:17-18

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.

Mark 15:21-23

After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him. They pressed into service a passerby coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.

John writes that Jesus "went out" bearing His own cross... he started the walk to Golgotha carrying His cross. John's point is not to describe who carried the cross, or how Jesus got to Golgatha. The point is that He went out to the Place of a Skull, and was crucified there. John's focus is on the crucifixion.

It is interesting that Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service to carry the cross is mentioned in all the gospels except John... I wonder what the others have to say.

Matthew 27:32 - As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.

Luke 23:26 - When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.

Here's the answer. Simon of Cyrene would not have been in Pilate's courtyard. In fact, it appears Simon was traveling, having just come in from the country (being from Cyrene means he was from an area near Alexandria, Egypt). He was a stranger in town, and had probably got caught up in the crowd outside Pilate's palace. As John reports, Jesus went out carrying His cross, but almost immediately it was apparent He could not carry it. So Simon was pressed into service.

What did we find out here? There is no contradiction.

Next question...

As for the crucifixion, Matthew 27:44 tells us Jesus was taunted by both criminals who were being crucified with him. But Luke 23:39-43 relates that only one of the criminals taunted Jesus, the other criminal rebuked the one who was doing the taunting, and Jesus told the criminal who was defending him, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Another easy one... but here's the answer anyway...