- He was “coming in from the country.”
- He was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. It was not voluntary.
- Mark tells us that he had two sons, Rufus and Alexander.
Given those things we can make a few conjectures.
- Telling us
that Simon had come in from the country may mean that he was, in fact, Jewish
and was on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover. To make such a journey he would have had to
have been a man of some wealth.
- He was
clearly not a follower of Jesus. He may have been aware of who Jesus was, but
quite possibly he did not, if in fact he was living in Cyrene and had just
arrived for the feast.
- That Mark mentions his sons probably means that they were known to the community for which Mark was writing, which may have been Christians living in Rome. When Paul wrote to the Romans, he also mentions a “Rufus” living in Rome with his mother.
This mentioning of Simon’s sons may also mean that Simon went on to be a follower of Jesus after his encounter with him, and brought his sons up as Christians. It should be said that there was a Gnostic sect in the early second century called the Basilidians who taught that Simon had actually taken Jesus’ place on the cross. That may be why he disappears from John’s Gospel. Why mention a minor character when he has started to cause you trouble.