And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. (Mark 15:21 KJV)
Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. (Romans 16:13 KJV)
Would you not have loved to have been one of those listed in Romans 16? I believe Paul looked upon each of those as brothers and sisters in Christ. He knew them, spoke of them and their convictions and greeted them specifically in his letter.
The way Mark mentions the sons of Simon, it could be assumed his audience, followers of Christ, would know who Alexander and Rufus were. It could be possible that Paul’s Rufus and Mark’s Rufus were the same. The name is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament.
World travelers, were our New Testament people. Cyrene in Africa, Simon a Cyrenian in Jerusalem, Paul in Corinth, writing to Rome and mentioning Rufus. Scattered abroad, some through persecution, some sent by the Holy Spirit, all speak of Christ’s impact on their lives.
So many stories can be conjectured from just a few items. If you’ve ever read “The Robe”, you could understand how, literally out of whole clothe, it could sprang from:
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, (2 Timothy 4:13 KJV)
How easily it would be to create such a story from two separate, unrelated verses and connect some dots from Rufus to Rufus, from Jerusalem to Rome.
Add to the mixture:
Were it you, how would you have been affected by being chosen to bear the cross of a man headed for crucifixion? Would you have stayed and heard His words, or returned home? Would you have stayed and heard the centurion testify:
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:54 KJV)
Would you have spoken about it to others during the coming weeks?
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. (Acts 6:9 KJV)
Could this have been Simon’s synagogue? If so, would he have disputed with Stephen, or with his religious companions? Did he, as did Saul, witness Stephen’s death? We won’t know these answers here – but someday we will know the depth of this family’s involvement.
Truly, even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25b KJV)