Romans 16:13, “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”
In Romans chapter 16 we find the Apostle Paul closing this powerfully inspired Epistle with some final instructions and words of encouragement. The Apostle takes the time in this final chapter to commend the saints of God for their faithful service to the Lord and direct the minds of the readers to their example. In our study verse the Apostle mentions a brother named Rufus. Apparently this brother, by his good works, had convinced the Apostle Paul that he was a born again elect child of grace. The Apostle took the time in this verse to exhort the readers to “salute” him. The word “salute” (Strong’s #782) is translated “greet” four times in Romans chapter 16 (16:3, 5, 8, 11). The word (Strong’s #782) is translated as “embraced” in Acts 20:1 and Hebrews 11:13. As I read Romans 16:13 I can see the disciples of Jesus Christ greeting Rufus with very kind words and an embracing hug when they see him, and it is easily gathered that the Apostle would do the same each time he saw this precious brother. But have you ever asked yourself who he really is? Where did Rufus come from and what happened in his life that exhorted and encouraged him to be such a faithful brother in the truth? The answers to these questions are found in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
In Matthew 27:32 and Luke 23:26, we read about a man named Simon. This man is said to be a “Cyrenian”, or from “Cyrene,” a City about 1100 miles from Jerusalem (located on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa). Simon, who was a Jew that lived in Cyrene, came to Jerusalem for the Passover. Luke teaches us in 23:26 that as he was “coming out of the country” the Roman soldiers “laid hold upon” him and forced him to bear the cross after Jesus. The Jews and the Romans had kept the Lord awake all night questioning, falsely accusing, beating, whipping and mocking Him. By comparing the Gospel’s, we can gather that the Roman soldiers wanted the travel to Golgatha to speed up. In this effort, the soldiers “compelled” (drafted and pressed into service) Simon to bear the cross after Jesus (Luke 23:26). When reading these verses of scripture, I can see Simon walking behind the Lord with the vertical section of the cross on his shoulder. How many times did Simon look to the ground to see wet places of sweat from the Son of God? How many times did Simon step upon a place where the blood of the Eternal Son of God had dripped to the ground from His precious and perfect body? I often wonder of the possibilities that the Lord looked back and made eye contact with Simon and maybe smiled. This experience of Simon must have had an amazing impact on his life. How do I know this? Mark 15:21 tells us that Simon had two sons. One of those son’s name was Rufus. I am convinced that this is the same Rufus in Romans 16:13. After witnessing what he saw the day the Lord was crucified, Simon became a disciple of the Lord. What happened that day impacted this man’s life. The evidence of scripture confirms that he must have shared this experience many times with his children. By doing so, Simon’s experience had a life long effect on his son Rufus.
Dear child of grace, as long as we live here in this world, we will never fully comprehend how much the Lord has blessed us. Question? Are we to hide these blessings or be willing to tell our children, friends and neighbors of the great things God hath done? By being willing to tell, you never know who it might effect. Just the thought of seeing one of God’s little children loving the truth and His Church more, encourages me to tell how great God is. The Lord has made a difference in this poor sinner’s life. My daily prayer is that God will help me to show to the world this hope He has blessed me to have.