Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning the question, “Did Jesus or Simon of Cyrene carry the cross?” The argument is that John 19:17 says that Jesus carried his own cross, but Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:20-21, and Luke 23:26 say that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross. However, there is a very simple explanation that solves this alleged contradiction in the Bible.
Scriptures – Did Jesus or Simon of Cyrene Carry the Cross?
Jesus Carried the Cross
and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.John 19:17
Simon of Cyrene Carried the Cross
31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. 32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.Matthew 27:31-32
20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. 21 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 15:20-21
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.Luke 23:26
Jesus Carried the Cross Until He Couldn’t, Then Simon of Cyrene Carried the Cross
The solution to this alleged contradiction is that Jesus carried the cross as far as he was able to carry it, and then after this, Simon of Cyrene was made to carry the cross the rest of the way.
There is nothing in the passages that excludes this possibility, and it is most likely what happened.
Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties
There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.
More Answers to “Contradictions” in the Bible
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: