"Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross" (Matt. 27:32). Although it isn't explicitly mentioned, it seems to be implied that Jesus had difficulty carrying His cross (not because He was a weakling, but because He had been thoroughly abused already). Thus, someone else was drafted to bear this physical burden of unknown size and weight for Him (or with Him). The fact that Simon had to be compelled to carry the cross implies that he was not a disciple of Jesus at that time (though he probably became one later, otherwise why would the name of he and his sons be known or given in Mark 15:21; cf. Acts 11:20)? A true follower (e.g., the apostle John) would have gladly accepted the burden for Jesus. Due to the repetition of common names, it is impossible to know much about this Simon, though his son Rufus may be the same Rufus mentioned in Romans 16:13.
"And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him" (Luke 23:27). This is the only recorded indication that any of the multitude that had shouted "Hosanna" during His triumphant entry remained faithful to Him. The majority of the multitude was surely composed of those who had been clamoring for His crucifixion.
"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children" (Luke 23:28). Jesus told these women of Jerusalem not to weep for Him but for themselves and the next generation. The reason why is explained in the following verses.
"For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'" (Luke 23:29). Some of these women and their children (along with hundreds of thousands of others) would suffer greatly in the terrible siege of Jerusalem that would take place forty years later. It was essentially a universal goal in Hebrew society for women to bear children. To be barren was consider tragic. However, to have children who would suffer the horrors of the siege (e.g., starvation, death, cannibalization, etc.) would be considered much worse than not having offspring at all. Jesus predicted that the days were coming wherein one would consider herself blessed if she were barren!
We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.