It used to drive my daughter crazy. Everywhere she would go people would say, oh… you’re McLean daughter. It drove her nuts that she was known as my daughter rather than as Emma. But as she grew older and spread her wings more, her circle of influence grew beyond my shadow. Eventually the tables turned and people instead would say to me… oh, you’re Emma’s dad. She loves this. The idea of connecting people to another familiar name helps us to connect to that person. We love to connect the relational dots between people and discover how people are connected. It gives us context to the larger story going on around us.
So when we read in the Bible that someone is mentioned in connection with another, there is a reason. That relationship is there to help people connect the dots to others related to the story. We may not always know the specific reason for the mention of these relationships, but they’re there for a reason.
For example, all three gospels talk about the man who helped Jesus carry the cross to Golgotha, Simon of Cyrene. But Mark puts this man into the context of a relationship with his sons for some reason. “And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”
(Mark 15:21) So why did Mark bring these names up. One possibility is that as Mark was writing this account, Simon was no longer alive to corroborate this story but his sons were. It’s also possible that the readers would have been familiar with Alexander and Rufus, perhaps even the same Rufus Paul mentions in Romans, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.” (Rom 16:13)
We may never know the specific reason Alexander and Rufus were mentioned in this account of the crucifixion but we do know it was a practice to include names so (at least at the time) there were personal eyewitnesses to these events. At the time of these writings, people were names so they could substantiate what was in the stories. These are the types of facts that would have allowed scholars and skeptics to investigate the stories contained in the Gospel stories. The more detail, the more verifiable it would have been in those days.
So it’s fascinating to see a story about Simon, helping to carry the cross WITH Jesus, being mentioned in all three Synoptic Gospels and include details of other eyewitnesses to back up the story. There must have been value and meaning in this story. If this man’s sons were known to Mark’s readers, perhaps even to Paul’s readers in Rome, then they would have become believers and followers of Christ. This man’s act, at the darkest time for Christ, would have made an impact on him that spilled over into his family, bringing them to a saving knowledge of Christ.
We never know how our actions will affect the next generations. But if we are obedient to serving Him, if we pick up the cross and follow Him, if we demonstrate a sacrificial love for Him… these actions can’t help but impact those around us.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.