Let’s talk about the cross today: Did Jesus carry it as shown on many illustrations, or did Simon carry it as other paintings show because Jesus was too weak after being flogged?
As always, let’s first look at the Scriptural evidence:
16 Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). – John 19:16-17
31 After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify him. 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). – Matthew 27:31-33
20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify him.21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). – Mark 15:20-22
26 As the soldiers led Him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26
So is John wrong, since Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report this differently?
NO . . . . The answer is simply in a matter of details. Let’s look at these passages chronologically:
1) Jesus was sentenced to crucifixion and flogged (Matthew 27:26-30, Mark 15:15-20, Luke 23:24-25, John 19:16)
2) He was led out (Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:20, Luke 23:26a)
3) He carried his cross out (John 19:17)
4) It is then implied that Jesus was too weak to carry His cross (from the flogging), and they were passing Simon (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26b)
5) Simon carries Jesus’ cross to Golgatha (Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22)
It is very clear in this story that the gospels (together) tell the full story, only when brought together.
As noted by many people, the Gospels have “different” accounts of the stories of Jesus, but only “different” in the terms of each eye witness saw something, and documented what they say. It has been proven that two different people seeing the same thing will document the events only from their only perspective.
In this case, John saw Jesus carry his cross out. The other authors noted seeing the soldiers demand that Simon carry the cross the remaining distance to Golgatha. Neither account is incorrect, just incomplete in terms of details. Together will all four gospels, we have a more complete and detailed picture of all of the events.