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 might be able to figure out what happened without look-ing at scripture.

Jesus starts to carry the cross. He had been severely beaten. He is very weak, and He keeps stumbling. A man named Simon, stand-ing in the crowd, is "volunteered" and carries the cross the rest of the way. If we look at the details of scripture, does this answer make sense? Yes!

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 states that Jesus "went out" bearing His own cross. That means He started the walk to Golgotha carrying His cross. Mark mentions that the Romans pressed Simon of Cyrene into service to bear the cross. What obviously happened was, Jesus started to carry the cross, was unable to, and Simon was pulled out of the crowd by the Romans and forced to carry the cross.

However, John does not mention Simon. Why? Because John's gospel is not about who carried the cross, nor how Jesus got to Gol-gatha. John is focused on the crucifixion. He simply writes that Jesus started out by carrying His own cross, which is true. On the other hand, Luke tells us more:

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. - Luke 23:26

It is clear. Simon of Cyrene was visiting Jerusalem. Being from Cyrene indicates he was from an area near Alexandria, Egypt. He was a stranger in town who was a part of the crowd outside Pilate's palace. As John reports, Jesus went out carrying His cross, but it be-came apparent He was too weak to continue to carry it. Simon, a random stranger in the crowd, was pulled out of the crowd and 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...


good news of the cross

The gospel is not social justice nor serving others. The gospel is love in action... Jesus Christ giving Himself so that you can be saved from the wrath of God.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-8