Matthew’s Passion: Association with robbers

Matthew’s Passion: Association with robbers

40 Blogs of Lent: 33

Matthew 27:32-44

Who was Simon, the man from Cyrene who was made to carry Jesus’ cross. That someone should ne named in the story in all three synoptic Gospels is strange. Stranger still is that Mark’s Gospel should also mention Simon’s sons Rufus and Alexander. As all three are mentioned only here and nowhere else, so why?

I shall admit that I don’t know why, but my best guess, and this is only a guess, is that these people were known witnesses. Readers of all three would have been known to the people the Gospels were written for. Matthew himself was a witness, he was one of the disciples which he said had fled, so the inclusion of Simon, a foreigner from Cyrene in eastern Libya is a way of saying, “If you want a verifiable witness, ask Simon.”

image

Association with robbers

a poem

Jesus mixed with the wrong sort of people,
that was an association people made of his ministry.

Tax collectors.
They collect money for the occupying army,
you should not be mixing with them,
they’re the wrong sort of people.

Women,
you should not be mixing with them,
they’re the wrong sort of people.

Prostitutes,
they’re responsible for wrecking relationships,
you should not be mixing with them,
they’re the wrong sort of people.

People with leprosy,
they’re responsible for spreading disease,
you should not be touching them,
they’re the wrong sort of people.

Robbers,
you are associating with them,
they’re the wrong sort of people.

Jesus,
you are associated with tax collectors,
women,
prostitutes,
people with leprosy.
You are the wrong sort of person.

The Father in Heaven looks on the wrong sort of people,
tax collectors,
women,
prostitutes,
people with contagious disease,
robbers,
you
and me
and says, “You are associated with my Son, Jesus;
you are the right sort of people to enter my kingdom.


This is how Matthew tells the story of the crucifixion:

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

Matthew 27 ESVUK

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Free image by raheel9630 on pixabay.com

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