“They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.” vs. 21
As the disciples remembered the events of Jesus’ suffering and death they likely had many conversations with each other about what had happened. And they didn’t come away with the same memories–that’s just the way it is when we share stories. We can be in exactly the same situation as a friend, and have an entirely different perspective of what has taken place. Mark likely listened to a lot of those stories as he was putting together his gospel, and here we discover that he had an inside scoop. He mentions Alexander and Rufus, sons of a Simon of Cyrene, who had by chance been compelled to carry the cross of Jesus to Golgotha. Perhaps they were known by those for whom he was writing his gospel, and Mark drops their names to add credibility to what he’s reporting. That’s how the story has come down to us–person by person, one generation after another the good news has been passed on. And name-dropping is still part of the process! At its best evangelism is always personal and we use the good names of pastors, parents, and friends to give authenticity to the message. Alexander and Rufus were there at the beginning, and now it’s our turn to testify–and perhaps one day our good name will be the one that is dropped.
Thought for the Day: Whose good name informs my story?