By the second century a number of suggestions were being circulated that someone other than Jesus was crucified on Golgotha. According to Irenaeus the gnostic Basilides maintained that Jesus did not suffer. “Rather a certain Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bear his cross for him…and through ignorance and error it was he who was crucified.” If this view was in circulation in the first century, it may have been one of the reasons why John ignored the Simon [of Cyrene] tradition and insisted that Jesus carried the cross by himself.
–Mainstream NT scholar, Raymond Brown, in The Death of the Messiah, p. 1093
2 thoughts on “Why did the Author of the Gospel of John Omit the Story of Simon of Cyrene”
I thought Simon carried the cross for Christ in Mark, but not bore the cross for Christ. It’s not very difficult to see that Christ carried the cross for some distance, and Simon helped him out on some parts. It is bizarre to equate physically carrying the cross to nailing on the cross as the same thing.
I can’t imagine Romans soldiers would be dumb enough to nail the wrong person, and people are even dumber to die for this accident. When Jesus was resurrected, how come Romans official not bringing out the body of Simon to clarify?
Also, acts of compassion from the crowd to Jesus was not just limited Simon. In one verse after Simon, others offered wine and mirth to Christ as well, and those people’s name were not included as well. Perhaps the reason why John omit Simon in the story is exactly to avoid speculation like this, which steered away the main focus on the event.
Maybe. And maybe this story is literary/theological fiction.