Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Jesus was scourged by the Roman soldiers. A Roman flogging was brutal. The person was bent over a post and tied to it. The flagrum used to flog the person was made of leather, but on the end of the straps were metal and bits of bones and stones. The scourging would rip the flesh and bruise the body. Hebrew law required no more than 39 lashes, but Romans were not limited to that number. It was to be brutal enough to inflict severe pain and damage to the person, but for them to still be able to carry the crossbeam for their cross. Some did not survive the scourging.
The whole purpose of the brutal scourging and crucifixion were to be a deterrent to others.
Jesus must have been brutally beaten for He was unable to carry the crossbeam for His crucifixion.
They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross. Mark 15:21
What we know of this man is very little.
We know Simon was from Cyrene:
Cyrene was a city in northern Libya. There was a large population of Jews who lived there at the time of Jesus.
Some people from Cyrene became believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:10). Some people from Cyrene were members in the Synagogue of the Freedmen and they argued with Stephen (Acts 6:9) and were perhaps part of the group who stoned Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). Some Christ believers from Cyrene went to Antioch preaching the Lord Jesus (Acts 11:20). It was here that disciples of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).
Simon of Cyrene was probably a Jew who was in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. He had just come into the city for whatever reason and the Romans told him to carry the crossbeam for this "criminal." Simon probably at that time had no idea who Jesus was.
We know Simon had two sons, Alexander and Rufus:
Do we know anything about these sons? Mark wrote his Gospel to the church at Rome and apparently the people in the church at Rome identified who Simon was by his sons. They knew them! If we go to Paul's letter written to the church of Rome we get a clue.
Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. Romans 16:13
It is believed this "Rufus" is Simon's son! Rufus was a "choice man in the Lord." That would most likely mean that Simon of Cyrene came to be a Christian after he carried the cross for Jesus. And so did his sons and his wife. Did he witness the crucifixion? Did he join the group of believers before Pentecost or on then? The details we don't know.
Simon of Cyrene carried the crossbeam for our Lord.