All four gospel accounts tell the story of the cross being carried to Golgotha (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26, John 19:17), and John is the only one that says nothing about Simon. In fact, whereas the other three gospel accounts actually say nothing of Jesus carrying the cross, John says in John 19:17 that Jesus "...bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha." John was likely an eye-witness and would surely know that Jesus needed help to get the cross to Calvary; so why would he leave that out, or worst yet, lie and say that Jesus carried it there?
Skeptics love trying to find contradictions in the Bible, and this seems to be one they feel they can keep using to prove the Bible has a contradiction. I mean, John was apparently a witness of this event, and he says something different than the other three writers...yet we say that they are all part of God's inspired, infallible Word. "If there is a discrepancy there, where else might there be one?" one might ask.
The Wonderful Answer!
One solution to this (supposed) problem has been given that perhaps Jesus started carrying it, but then Simon finished the job. Luke's account could be used to support this idea where it says,
"And as they led him (Jesus) away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."
The problem with this answer is that the word "after" clearly means that Simon was simply following behind Jesus. Besides that, it would still seem odd for John not to have explained Simon's role.
Now, let's look at what John's account says and compare it to Matthew's account. Then I believe the answer becomes clear:
"And he (Jesus) bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:"
Notice the word "into" and then look at Matthew 22:32,33
And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
Here, the text says "unto." The case is made that Simon carried the cross UNTO "the place of the skull (or "Golgotha," or "Mount Calvary"), and Jesus carried it INTO the "mountain" to the place where He would be crucified. But it gets better!
In the Old Testament, there is a curious story where Abraham is told by God to take his son, Isaac, into the place appointed (in a mountain) to sacrifice his son. The skeptics also like to point this out as an evil thing for God to do, but we know that He had an angel stop Abraham before he did it, and the story was to be recorded as a prophetic picture of the coming "Lamb of God" who would make an atonement for the sins of the world. Things start to click when you read the story compared to the "death march" of Christ.
We see in Genesis 22, Abraham saddled his donkey, cut up the wood for the offering, and he and Isaac, along with two young men, headed toward the mountain to the place where God had appointed. Certainly, the wood was carried by the donkey. Once they reached the mountain, the Bible says that Abraham put the wood on Isaac and then they went to the place where he was to be sacrificed.
The picture was complete. Simon was the "beast of burden" that carried the cross to the mountains (Calvary), and once they reached the spot, the cross was laid upon Jesus and they headed to the place where Jesus was to be sacrificed.
Every word of God is inspired and profitable (even words like "unto" and "into"), and here they not only clear up the scoffers' accusations, but they help us to understand even better how accurately the Old Testament prophecy was being fulfilled. What a book, that Bible!