On this Good Friday, over 2000 years ago, Simon, Alexander and Rufus were in Jerusalem. They had traveled from the continent of Africa to Jerusalem and we know very little else about them from Scripture. Simon was the man the Roman soldiers forced to carry Jesus’ cross when he could not carry it any more. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record his story in their gospels. Mark gives us additional information.
The Gospel of Mark records all their names. . . this man and sons from a far-off place who happened to be on the road to Golgotha when Jesus passed by.
Simon’s name is of Hebrew origin and comes from the word meaning “to hear, to listen, to obey.” This type of listening involves hearing with understanding and with a heart set on following through, obeying. It has a secondary meaning we would translate to “pay attention.”
Alexander is a name with compounded meaning, “man” and “defender” – man defender. One who defends men.
Rufus has a Latin origin and has a simple name meaning, “red.”
Jesus, man’s defender, was standing right there covered in red, His blood shed for us.
Put together these names could mean several things:
God says to us, “I have heard. Man, your defender is red.” (“I have heard your cry for deliverance. Your defender, a victorious warrior, is here.)
“Hear, pay attention to the red man-defender.” (Listen and remember all you have heard from this man covered in blood who goes to the cross to defend you.)
Our response? Let me be an intentional listener for Your voice, the voice of the One who defended and won the battle for me, the One who took my punishment, the One who made a relationship with His Father possible, and the One who awaits my arrival.