There are dozens of gospels excluded from the Bible, but I’m only going to concern myself with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which are supposedly eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus as written by his disciples. Yet these canonical gospels often do not agree at all on what happened.
In my original article, I referred to the contradictory genealogies given in Matthew and Luke, so I won’t repeat them here, but suffice to say that it is strange that two of Jesus’ followers didn’t even notice the differences.
Mark, on the other hand, makes no mention of Bethlehem, the virgin birth, or Jesus’ family descent from David at all. Why does he leave out these extremely significant facts? The gospels are littered with such inconsistencies. Luke offers us what looks like convincing historical detail when he tells us that Jesus was born at the time of census of Quirinius, which took place in 6 CE. Yet Matthew tells us that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, who died in 4 BCE. Luke adds to the confusion by stating that John and Jesus were miraculously conceived six months apart during the reign of Herod, but still portrays a pregnant Mary at the time of the census in 6 CE, thereby creating one of the rarely mentioned miracles of the New Testament – a 10-year pregnancy.
John places the cleansing of the temple early in his gospel, Matthew at the end. Mark has Jesus teaching only in the area of Galilee, not in Judea, and travelling the 110km to Jerusalem once, at the end of his life. Luke, however, has Jesus teaching equally in Galilee and Judea. John has Jesus teaching mainly in Jerusalem and making only the occasional visits to Galilee.
Since xtianity is built upon the history of Jesus’ death and resurrection, even the events surrounding his crucifixion are not in agreement across the gospels. According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus was both tried and sentenced by the Jewish priests of the Sanhedrin. Luke has it that Jesus was tried by them, but not sentenced by them. Yet, according to John, Jesus doesn’t appear before the Sanhedrin at all.
The same confusion exists about Jesus’ alleged betrayer, Judas Iscariot. In Matthew Judas went and hanged himself, but in the Acts of the Apostles he dies after an accidental fall. I say “alleged betrayer”, because even if the myth of Jesus were true, I don’t believe that it was the intention of Judas to betray Jesus. Rather I argue that Jesus personally selected Judas as the one who was to betray him. Judas at first protests, but ultimately accepts the burden.
There is further controversy when Jesus appears before a crowd of his peers alongside another called Barabbas. Pontius Pilate then asks the crowd who they want to die, and they choose Jesus. Or did they? When you split the name of Barabbas, you get Bar Abbas, literally “the son of the father”. So who went to be crucified after all? I would argue that neither of them were crucified as contemporary historians have no record of this event at all.
The gospel writers, who we are supposed to believe were Jesus’ close disciples, cannot even remember their masters last words correctly! Matthew and Mark have Jesus quote psalm 22 as his parting words, asking, “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” Luke has Jesus quote psalm 31: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”. For those looking for another version, there is always John’s account, in which Jesus simply says, “I am thirsty” and then, “It is finished.”
According to Matthew, Jesus had predicted that:
“Just as Jonah was in the hollow of the whale for three days and three nights, so the Son of Humanity will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”
It seems that his calculations were inaccurate, for according to the gospels, Jesus died on a Friday and rose again on the Sunday, thus spending only two nights “in the heart of the earth”.
Mark tells us that when some of Jesus’ women followers found his empty tomb they merely saw a “young man in a white robe” inside. Luke, on the other-hand, relates that “two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared by their side.” In one gospel it was a single person, and in another it was two people. Matthew tells an even more dramatic tale:
“All at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe as white as snow.”
In Mark and Matthew, the resurrected Jesus appears to his other disciples in Galilee, where they have sent by divine decree. Yet this stupendous supernatural event does not seem to have impressed itself very clearly on the rest of the disciples, since Luke has Jesus appearing in and around Jerusalem. Indeed, according to the Acts of the Apostles, not only did they not receive any divine commandment to go to Galilee, but were expressly forbidden to leave Jerusalem.
If the gospels are an historical record of the teachings of Jesus, then we can at least conclude that he is not the Son of God. Either that or Jesus is as fallible as any mortal. Jesus himself repeatedly predicts that the coming apocalypse will be witnessed by those living at the time.
In Luke we read:
“I tell you truly, that there are some of those standing right here who will never taste death before they see the kingdom of God. And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on earth an anxious mass of people in confusion over the roar of the sea and the tides, with people dying of fear and apprehension about what’s coming over the world. Yes, the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. When these things start to happen, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is approaching. When you see these things happening, you know the kingdom of God is close. I assure you that this generation will not pass away till it all happens.”
In Matthew, Jesus says:
“I assure you there are some among those standing here that will never taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his monarchy. I assure you that this generation will not go before all this happens.”
At last we find at least two gospels that are in agreement. Yet, 2,000 years later, when all his disciples are well and truly dead, none of these things have come to pass and Jesus has not returned.
Funny how the church doesn’t mention these two passages often, if at all. Maybe they want to keep their “flock” ignorant of the actual words that Jesus spoke, thereby maintaining their control over the mindless masses, as was ever such.
I make an open challenge to all xtians to deny that these passages are in the gospels. If you do deny them then you are obviously so out of touch with your own religion that you cannot debate rationally, or worse, that you simply can’t read.
And here endeth the lesson. Amen-Re.