The Gospel of Simon

Written by John Smelcer
Review by Nicole Evelina

The Gospel of Simon begins outside of present-day Jerusalem with a man named Simon finding out that his ancestor and namesake was none other than Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus carry his cross. In an ancient document passed down through the generations, the Cyrenian tells the story of how he was pressed into helping Jesus, came to know him as Savior through a series of dreams and strange encounters after Jesus’ death, came into possession of two of the holiest relics in Christendom, and become one of the early followers of The Way, his name for the fledgling Christian religion.

I was expecting this to be a more traditional novel, one that plunged me into Simon’s world, helping me better understand this mysterious Biblical figure, but that is not what this tale is. This slim volume is more of a message wrapped in the trappings of story. None of it is anything unfamiliar to anyone who has read the New Testament or any number of inspirational religious texts, but it is a much-needed reminder of love and hope for an uncertain and increasingly violent world. If you are looking to find out who Simon might have been and experience his life, you will be disappointed. However, if you need inspiration, you just might find it within these pages.