Luke 23:26
And as they led him away, they laid hold on one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
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Luke 23:26-27. And as they led him away — After he had been barbarously scourged and mocked, as is recorded, Matthew 27:26-31, and Mark 15:15-20, where see the notes; they laid hold on one Simon, coming out of the country — Who was probably a friend of Christ’s, and known to be so; and on him they laid the cross — Which doubtless was done to put a reproach upon him; that he might bear it after Jesus — Lest Jesus should faint under it, and die away, and so prevent the farther instances of the malice which they designed. See on Matthew 27:32. And there followed him a great company of people — Especially of women. These were not only his friends and well-wishers, but many others of the common people, who were not his enemies, and were moved with compassion toward him, because they had seen, or at least heard of, his wonderful works, and what a wise, holy, and benevolent man he was, and had reason to think he suffered unjustly; this drew a great crowd after him, some of whom were influenced by pity, others probably by curiosity; but they also, as well as those that were his particular friends, bewailed and lamented him — So that, though there were many that reproached and reviled him, yet there were some that valued him, were sorry for him, and sympathized with him in his sufferings. Observe, reader, the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus may move the natural affections of many who are strangers to devout affections; and those may bewail Christ who do not savingly believe in him, and truly love him.23:26-31 We have here the blessed Jesus, the Lamb of God, led as a lamb to the slaughter, to the sacrifice. Though many reproached and reviled him, yet some pitied him. But the death of Christ was his victory and triumph over his enemies: it was our deliverance, the purchase of eternal life for us. Therefore weep not for him, but let us weep for our own sins, and the sins of our children, which caused his death; and weep for fear of the miseries we shall bring upon ourselves, if we slight his love, and reject his grace. If God delivered him up to such sufferings as these, because he was made a sacrifice for sin, what will he do with sinners themselves, who make themselves a dry tree, a corrupt and wicked generation, and good for nothing! The bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus should make us stand in awe of the justice of God. The best saints, compared with Christ, are dry trees; if he suffer, why may not they expect to suffer? And what then shall the damnation of sinners be! Even the sufferings of Christ preach terror to obstinate transgressors.See the notes at Matthew 27:32.

After Jesus - Probably to bear one end of the cross. Jesus was feeble and unable to bear it alone, and they compelled Simon to help him.

26. Cyrenian—of Cyrene, in Libya, on the north coast of Africa, where were many Jews who had a synagogue at Jerusalem (Ac 6:9, and see Ac 2:10). He was "the father of Alexander and Rufus" (Mr 15:21), probably better known afterwards than himself, as disciples. (See Ro 16:13).

out of the country—and casually drawn into that part of the crowd.

laid the cross—"Him they compel to bear His cross," (Mt 27:32)—sweet compulsion, if it issued in him or his sons voluntarily "taking up their cross!" It would appear that our Lord had first to bear His own cross (Joh 19:17), but being from exhaustion unable to proceed, it was laid on another to bear it "after Him."

See Poole on "Matthew 27:32", See Poole on "Mark 15:21". And as they led him away,.... From Pilate's hall, and out of the city of Jerusalem, towards Calvary; which was done by the Jews and Roman soldiers, after they had stripped him of his own clothes, and put on him a scarlet coat, and had platted a crown of thorn, and put it on his head, and a reed in his hand, and bowed the knee, and mocked him, saluting him as King of the Jews; after they had finished their sport and pastime with him, and had put on him his own clothes again:

they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian; father of Alexander and Rufus, Mark 15:21; see Gill on Matthew 27:32.

coming out of the country; either out of the country part of Judea, to the city of Jerusalem; or out of the field where he had been about rural business, and was now returning home, and perhaps knew nothing of the matter, what had been doing at Jerusalem:

and on him they laid the cross; on which Jesus was to be crucified, and which he was bearing himself; but finding that he was weak, and languid, and unable to carry it himself, and fearing, should he die by the way, they should be disappointed of glutting their malice, and seeing him in shame and agony on the cross, and of triumphing over him there; and being in haste for the execution of their malicious designs, they put the cross, at least one end of it, upon this man's shoulders:

that he might bear it after Jesus: either the whole of it, following Jesus; or only one end of it, Jesus going before with the other end on his shoulder; which seems to be the order in which it was carried between them.

{7} And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

(7) An example of the outrageousness and disorder of the soldiers.

Luke 23:26-32. Luke proceeds in a very abbreviating fashion, yet with intercalations of original matter, down to Luke 23:49. The observation ἐρχομ. ἀπʼ ἀγροῦ belongs (as Ebrard at an earlier period also supposed, but now, on Olshausen, ed. 4, p. 52, questions), as does Luke 23:56, to the synoptical traces of the working day. See on Mark 15:21.

The following saying of Jesus to the women is preserved only by Luke, extremely appropriate to the love and fervour at the threshold of death, and certainly from an original tradition.

Luke 23:27. κ. γυναικῶν] of women also, not ministering female friends, but other women; and, indeed, according to Luke 23:28, from the city, as the female sex is accustomed in general to be very sympathizing and tender at executions; ἐκόπτ., as Luke 8:52.

Luke 23:28 f. The address is: that they were not to weep over Him (for He was on His way to meet a glorious future); nevertheless over themselves they ought to weep, etc., for (see Luke 23:29) over them was impending a terrible future (the destruction of Jerusalem). The contrast of emphasis lies upon ἐπʼ ἐμέ and ἐφʼ ἑαυτάς; by the position of the one at the end and of the other at the beginning, and the consequent juxtaposition as closely as possible of the two expressions, the emphasis is strengthened.

μακάριαι] The maternal heart, in truth, feels, besides its own suffering, still more keenly the sufferings of beloved children, Eur. Andr. 395. On ἔθρεψαν (see the critical remarks), comp. Aesch. Choeph. 543: μασθὸνἐμὸν θρεπτήριον

Luke 23:30. The mountains and hills were to—such is the wish of those who are in despair—not perchance hide them from the calamitous catastrophe and place them in security (comp. Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 2:21), but, as the words themselves (comp. with Hosea 10:8; Revelation 6:16) indicate, the destructive landslip which covers them was to take them away by sudden death from the intolerable evil.

ἄρξονται] an outbreaking of the greatest anguish. The subject is the people in general (the Jews), not the steriles (Bengel).

Luke 23:31. Reason on which this announcement of evil was based, Luke 23:29 f. “If they thus treat the guiltless and the righteous, what shall happen to the godless (to themselves)?” On the figure of the green (Psalm 1:5) and the dry tree, comp. Ezekiel 21:3; Sanhedr. f. 93. 1. This last saying of Jesus, Luke 23:28-31, is one great memorial more, at once of His self-denial and of His sinless consciousness, as well as of His certain insight into the counsel of the divine retribution, which now allows itself no longer to be averted, but to be even once more announced with the pain of rejected love, and not to be withheld.

Luke 23:32. κακοῦργοι] defining more closely the ἕτεροι δύο. Comp. Luke 23:33. See Bornemann, Schol. p. 147 f.; Winer, p. 469 [E. T. 665]; Krüger, Anab. i. 4. 2.Luke 23:26-32. On the way to the cross (Matthew 27:31-34, Mark 15:21).26-32. Simon the Cyrenian. The Daughters of Jerusalem.

Simon, a Cyrenian] There was a large colony of Jews in the powerful African city of Cyrene, and the Cyrenians had a synagogue at Jerusalem (Acts 2:10; Acts 6:9; Acts 11:20). Simon may have come to keep the feast. St Mark calls him “the father of Alexander and Rufus,” possibly the Christians mentioned in Acts 19:33; Romans 16:13.

coming out of the country] Not necessarily from labouring in the fields: still the notice accords with the many other incidental signs that this was not the Feast-Day, but the day preceding it. See Excursus V. The Apocryphal ‘Acts of Pilate’ says that the soldiers met Simon at the city gate (John 19:17). There is no historical authority for the identification of the Via Dolorosa or for the ‘Stations’ of the Via Crucis. The latter are said to have originated among the Franciscans.

on him they laid the cross] Probably because our Lord, enfeebled by the terrible scourging and by the long hours of sleepless agitation, was too feeble to bear it. This seems to be specially implied by Mark 15:21. It is not certain whether they made Simon carry the entire cross or merely part of the burden. (Comp. Genesis 22:6; Isaiah 9:6.) The Cross was not carried in the manner with which pictures have made us familiar, but either in two separate pieces—the body of the cross (staticulum) and its transom (antenna); or by tying these two pieces together in the shape of a V (furca). The Cross was certainly not the crux decussata (X) or St Andrew’s Cross; nor the crux commissa (T St Anthony’s Cross); but the ordinary Roman Cross (crux immissa. See Matthew 27:37). The Hebrew word for Cross is the letter Thau (Ezekiel 9:4), which gave abundant opportunities for the allegorising tendency of the Fathers. On the body of the Cross was certainly a projecting piece of wood (πῆγμα, sedile) to support the sufferer, but there was no suppedaneum or rest for the feet; and from Luke 24:39 it seems certain that one nail (if not two) was driven through the feet. Nothing could exceed the agony caused by this “most cruel and horrible punishment” as even the ancients unanimously call it.

that he might bear it after Jesus] Hence various Gnostic sects (e.g. the Basilidians) devised the fable that Simon was executed by mistake for Jesus, a fable which, through Apocryphal legends, has found its way into the Koran (Koran, Suras 3, 4). St Matthew (Matthew 27:32) and St Mark use the technical word ἠγγάρευσαν, ‘impressed for service.’ Perhaps the Jews had received a hint that Simon was a disciple.Verses 26-32. - On the way to Calvary. Simon the Cyrenian. The daughters of Jerusalem. Verse 26. - And as they led him away. Plutarch tells us that every criminal condemned to crucifixion carried his own cross. There was borne in front of him, or else hung round his own neck, a white tablet, on which the crime for which he suffered was inscribed. Possibly this was what was afterwards affixed to the cross itself. Simon, a Cyrenian. Cyrene was an important city in North Africa, with a large colony of resident Jews. These Cyrenian Jews had a synagogue of their own in Jerusalem. It is probable that Simon was a Passover pilgrim. St. Mark tells us he was the father of "Alexander and Rufus;" evidently, from his mention of them, these were notable persons in the early Christian Church. Very likely their connection with the followers of Jesus dated from this incident on the road to Calvary. Coming out of the country. He was probably one of the pilgrims lodged in a village near Jerusalem, and met the sad procession as he was entering the city on his way to the temple. On him they laid the cross. Our Lord was weakened by the trouble and agitation of the past sleepless night, and was, of course, faint and utterly exhausted from the effects of the terrible scourging. The cross used for this mode of execution was (1)either the Cruz decussata X, what is usually known as St. Andrew's cross; or

(2) the Cruz commissa T, St. Anthony's cross; or

(3) the ordinary Roman cross , Cruz immissa. Our Lord suffered on the third description, the Roman cross. This consisted of two pieces, the one perpendicular (staticulum), the other horizontal (antenna). About the middle of the first was fastened a piece of wood (sedile), on which the condemned rested. This was necessary, else, during the long torture, the weight of the body would have torn the hands, and the body would have fallen. The cross was not very high, scarcely twice the height of an ordinary man. Strong nails were driven through the hands and feet. The victim usually lived about twelve hours, sometimes much longer. The agonies endured by the crucified have been thus summarized: "The fever which soon set in produced a burning thirst. The increasing inflammation of the wounds in the back, hands, and feet; the congestion of the blood in the head, lungs, and heart; the swelling of every vein, an indescribable oppression, racking pains in the head; the stiffness of the limbs, caused by the unnatural position of the body; - these all united to make the punishment, in the language of Cicero ('In Verr.,' 5:64), crudelissimum teterrimumque supplicium. From the beginning Jesus had foreseen that such would be the end of his life." Laid hold on (ἐπιλαβόμενοι)

Compare the peculiar word used by Matthew and Mark. See on Matthew 5:41.

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