The name is mentioned twice:
(1) Simon of Cyrene, who was compelled to bear the cross of Jesus, is "the father of Alexander and Rufus" (Mark 15:21);
(2) Paul sends greetings to Roman Christians, "Rufus the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine" (Romans 16:13).
Rufus was well known among those for whom Mark primarily wrote his Gospel, and according to tradition this was the Christian community at Rome. There seems no reason to doubt, therefore, that the Rufus of Mark and the Rufus of Paul are the same person. The name, meaning "red," "reddish," was, however, one of the commonest of slave names; the identification of these two is therefore merely a conjecture. The Rufus whom Paul greets is "the chosen in the Lord," i.e. "that choice Christian" (Denhey). Since all Christians are "chosen," this title must express some distinction. The mother of Rufus had played the mother's part to Paul on some occasion of which we are ignorant, hence the phrase "his mother and mine" (compare Mark 10:30).
S. F. Hunter
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