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To The Shores of Tripoli
by Wayne Blank
Simon the Cyrenian
A large number of Jews had been settled in and around Cyrene centuries before Christ by Ptolemy Soter (see The Ptolemies), however some still travelled to Jerusalem for the annual Holy Days. Simon, a Jew from Cyrene, was in Jerusalem for the Passover (see The Feast Of Unleavened Bread); he happened to be there as the procession to crucify the Christ was going by, and was forced into service by the Roman troops:
"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
Not much else is recorded about Simon, other than that he had two sons:
"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)
Although not specifically stated, considering what Simon witnessed, and his closeness to the Son of God as He was being sacrificed, Simon may have been among the men of Cyrene who later became very determined witnesses of The Gospel of The Kingdom of God:
"And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." (Acts 11:20-21 KJV)
Fact Finder: Were people from Cyrene/Tripoli present when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers at Pentecost?