Was it Simon of Cyrene who was crucified on the cross and not Jesus?
This Lenten, I would like to comment about the Catholic fanatics crucifying themselves on the cross. As a form of imitating the suffering of Christ, a friend of mine told me it should first be established that it was actually Christ who was crucified. He argued that the story in the New Testament related that on the way to Golgotha the Cross was taken from Christ by the Roman soldiers and Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it. It does not say that Simon returned it. So, it could be the case that it was Simon who was really crucified. That’s why when he was there hanging on the Cross, and being a good and charitable person, he asked of God to forgive them, the crucifiers, because they did not know what they were doing. I have reservations about such an argument, and I really am not too conversant about what really took place, not being born nor present at that time yet. And I, as well as my friend, really mean no irreverence and disrespect to what others have to say about the matter. They could have other sources of knowledge my friend was not privy to.
Here are the verses in the Bible about Simon of Cyrene:
“As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.27A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.28n Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children,29for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’30 At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’o31 for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” 32Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed.The Crucifixion.p33When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left.q” (Lk 23:26-33)
The pronoun “him” who was crucified refers to the closest preceding male noun mentioned. That noun is Jesus; Simon is too far. The Roman soldiers would not be too stupid to crucify Simon of Cyrene, because Jesus Christ is unmistakable: he has a crown of thorns, he was scourged, and everybody knows him as a prophet. The Jewish priests who want to kill Jesus must make sure that the person crucified is the right man. Mary and John was there beneath Jesus’ cross. There can be no doubt that it was Jesus who was crucified and not Simon of Cyrene.