The incident depicted in this illustration seems to be as apocryphal as that embodied in the artist’s picture of Mary Magdalene. There is absolutely no warrant in scripture for the notion that Christ fainted under the burden of the cross. The only foundation for such an idea to found in the Bible is contained in the head note to Mark xv, which is quite unwarranted by the text. According to the three synoptic gospels the cross was borne not by Christ, but by Simon, a Cyrenian (see Matthew xxvii, 32; Mark xv, 2 1; Luke xxiii, 26). According to the fourth evangelist, Jesus bore the cross without assistance the whole distance to the place crucifixion (John xix, 16-18). In not one of the four narratives is there so much as a hint that he fainted under the burden.
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