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Meet The Only African Man Who Helped Jesus, See The Country He Came From And His Name

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Jesus was subjected to excruciating suffering at the hands of the Romans before being made to bear His cross to Calvary. In the beginning, Jesus bore His cross (John 19:17).

In the end, however, Jesus was so worn down by suffering that he could no longer bear his cross. When the Romans found out, they forced another man to assist in carrying the cross.

Simon of Cyrene is named in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as one of the men who helped Jesus carry his cross (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26). Cyrene was a city in ancient Libya. Because of his geographical location, Simon is often represented as a black man from Africa.

Since Simon is not mentioned in the Bible, we can only speculate about his race. Cyrene was a colony of Greece that was home to a prestigious university. Lots of Jews and would-be Jews lived in the city, too.

Mark and Luke expand on this by saying that Simon “was on his way in from the country” and that he “was the father of Alexander and Rufus.” Therefore, Mark’s readers must have been acquainted with Alexander and Rufus. These three sentences are the only ones in the Bible that mention Simon of Cyrene.

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Whether or not Simon of Cyrene became a Christian is unclear; some theories suggest he was already a follower of Christ before the crucifixion. It is presumed that the Rufus mentioned in both Mark 15:21 and Romans 16:13 is the same person.

Providing this is true, strengthens the argument that Simon and his family were instrumental in the development of the early church. Though the Bible does not explicitly link the two Rufuses, they are often considered to be the same.

Jesus relied on the help of Simon of Cyrene to bear his cross. Therefore, his “immortalization” in the Bible is assured. Hopefully, after seeing the suffering Jesus endured on our behalf, Simon of Cyrene came to believe in Jesus as his Savior. Jesus took on Simon’s sin even though Simon carried the cross part of the way to Golgotha (1 John 2:2).

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