According to the Gospel accounts, the authors record so little about the road of Jesus to Calvary and the cross he carried. Matthew, Mark and Luke says that Jesus was unable to carry the cross the entire way and had to be assisted.
They pushed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross. (Mark 15:21).
The account John gave only mentions Jesus and how he took the cross upon himself and carried it to Calvary. (John 19:16-17), So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
All of the narratives of Jesus’ Passion are silent about the details of the cross Jesus carried, maybe because their audience, Jews and Greeks during the the 1st century, were well aware of the Romans and their methods of torture.
In the 1st Century, Crucifixion was a common penalty for criminals in the Roman Empire and was used as a public deterrent. Those who read or listened to the accounts of the Crucifixion of Jesus did not need a detailed description as they knew exactly what it looked like.
A Historian explained in the Biblical Archeology Review that wood was difficult to acquire and that the Romans reused wooden uprights that were already fixed in the ground. This signifies that anyone who was crucified only had to carry the crossbeam.
Those condemned to crucifixion never carried the complete cross. Instead, they carried only the crossbar, while the upright was placed in a permanent place where it would be used for subsequent executions.
According to Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, wood was so scarce in Jerusalem during the first century A.D. that the Romans were forced to travel ten miles from Jerusalem to get timber for their siege machinery.
At that same time, many scientists and historians have looked at the Shroud of Turin, which many have believed the shroud that covered Jesus in the tomb, and claim that the shroud provides enough evidence that Jesus carried the entire cross not just the crossbeam
Using computer modeling, that analyzed the back of the Shroud, they found out that there were more than two abrasion marks on the Shroud; there were nine blood marks which correspond to the tunic Jesus was wearing (John 19:23-24).
The marks on the tunic indicate a cross pattern, created by the pressure of the whole cross which consists of the pitabulum and the stipes – on his back, despite the tunic which buffered the bruises.
This particular theory also corresponds to Jewish laws about the presence of unclean objects.
It has also been noted that Jesus had to carry the entire cross, because the filthy, used stipes, covered in blood and feces were pulled out of their holes in the ground and stored.
This was done, probably because in and around a holy site like Jerusalem, the religious law forbid anyone touching anything unclean. So, Jesus and the two thieves crucified with him had to carry both the stipes and pitabulum. In more places around the Roman Empire, the filthy stipes stood in the ground waiting for its next victim.
As we may never know the full truth about which cross Jesus carried on this earth, the most crucial part is that Jesus carried that cross to save the world, forgive our sins and open the gates of Heaven.
(Isaiah 53:5) reminds us the He was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He also bore the punishment that makes us whole, and by his wounds we were healed.