Rufus and his mum
Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be His very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.Romans 16:13
Rufus was a Roman name. There are two possibilities where Rufus is concerned.
- Frequent mention is made in Jewish writings of Turnus Rufus, a Roman officer, that destroyed the temple, and ploughed up the city of Jerusalem.
- The name was used among the Cyrenians for one of the sons of Simon of Cyrene (Alexander and Rufus) whom the Jews compelled to carry the cross of Christ. It is not unlikely; Rufus is also said to be one of the seventy disciples, and to be bishop of Thebes. ( My money is on this Rufus. )
Mark refers to Rufus in Mark 15:21 – “A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.)” The apostle knew Rufus as one “chosen in the Lord”; meaning either that he was a choice believer in Christ, an excellent Christian, one of the highest form for this man was eminent for his faith in Christ, or he might be one that was chosen to some office in the church, as to that of a deacon, or pastor. The phrase is only used in one other place – Eph_1:4. Paul knew this man to be a chosen vessel, but by his faith in Christ, and love to him, and by the power of the Gospel on him. I think Mark included the sons’ names because they were prominent in the church. Also Mark’s Gospel was written for those in Rome. Clearly there is a connection there. I think it is most likely Rufus was resident there and a prominent figure in the church. Hence the references in both Mark and Romans.
How fitting that carrying the cross of Christ should bring blessing to the family, such a poignant moment resulting in new birth for the household. Clearly Simon was touched by the experience and became a believer. Returning to Cyrene he shared the Gospel with his family and introduced them to Jesus too. Clearly they became Christians as well and the boys rose to prominence in the Word of the Lord. It is so interesting to connect up the unlinked pieces of the Word of God. In Acts 11:20 we are told men from Cyprus and Cyrene came to Antioch and first preached the gospel to the Gentiles. Simon and his family? Were Alexander and Rufus there? In Acts 19:33 Paul was nearly killed except a man named Alexander was pushed to the fore and he explained what was going on. Was this Alexander, son of Simon from Cyrene? It is likely. It seems this familiy had an ongoing contact with Paul.
and his mother and mine . . . The apostle not only salutes this man, but his mother also, who doubtless was a believer in Christ, and highly respected by him. The mother of Rufus in nature, and Paul’s mother in affection. It is not likely that the mother of Rufus was the mother of Paul; but while she was the natural mother of the former, she acted as a mother to Paul. Such was the relationship of this family to Paul that she treated Paul as one of her own sons. We are not told the details but it is clear that Paul’s relationship with this family runs deep. Most consider Simon was a dark skinned man. Paul had close intimate relationship with all manner of men and women. And yes Simon’s wife considered Paul as one of her sons along with Alexander and Rufus.
Of course there is some degree of speculation to all this but on the basis of some biblical evidence.
A mother can touch a whole generation just by loving her own child well.Anon
“The nicest thing My Father Ever Did For Me.” One kid answered “He married my mother.”Anon