Monday, June 2, 2014

The Four Gospelteers!

A reader asks Billy Graham about the four gospels....
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’d never read the Bible much, but this year I made a New Year’s resolution to read through the New Testament, and so far I’ve kept it. But why are there four accounts of Jesus’ life instead of just one? They all seem to tell the same story. — V.P.
They all seem to tell the same story? VP better keep reading then... Unless he's not big on the details. Also, he decided to read the Bible and started with the new testament? Does he read the last chapters of novels before the beginning as well?
Biblical contradictions are everywhere!
DEAR V.P.: I commend you for carrying through on your commitment; I’m afraid most New Year’s resolutions die after only a few weeks. And God will bless you, not just for persevering, but also because the Bible is God’s word and he will speak to you through it.
May your experience be like that of the disciples outside Jerusalem after the resurrection: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he … opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
All four Gospels tell about us about the life and ministry of Jesus, and on the surface they may seem very similar. But each one contains information that isn’t found in the others, and we need all four if we’re to get a complete understanding of who Jesus was and what he came into the world to do. Each Gospel is like a portrait, showing us new things about Jesus.
At the same time, all four Gospels focus on Jesus. As you read, you’ll discover that Jesus was far more than a great man or a wise teacher. He was God in human flesh, sent from heaven to demonstrate God’s love for us. He did this by giving his life as the final sacrifice for our sins.
As you read the Bible, ask God to help you see Jesus as he really is. Then may you respond by trusting him as your savior and giving him your life. Jesus said, “Whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26).
Ah, but Billy left out the best part... They contradict each other! Sure, some stuff is the same, but when it comes to Christianity's most important story, they cease to be so similar.

Who went to Jesus' tomb?
Matthew: Mary Magdalen and  (the other) Mary
Mark: Mary Magdalen, Mary (mother of James), and Salome
Luke: Mary Magdalen, Mary (mother of James), and Joanna
John: Mary Magdalen
When did they visit Jesus' tomb?
Mark: During the day
John: During the night
What did they see when they arrived?
Matthew: An angel who rolled away the stone and then sat on it.
Mark: A young man sitting beside the tomb.
Luke: Two men in shinning clothing.
John: Only that the stone had been moved. She then ran and told the others.
What was said?
Matthew: The angel said that Jesus had risen and was going to Galilee.
Mark: The young man said that Jesus had risen and was going to Galilee.
Luke: The two men said that Jesus had risen.
John: Nothing was said, but Jesus appeared to her later.
Who did Jesus appear to when they went to the tomb?
Matthew: Both of them.
Mark: Only Mary Magdalen.
John: No one when the tomb was discovered, but he appeared to Mary Magdalen later.
Which deciples went to Jesus' tomb?
Luke: Only Peter
John: Peter and John
Did the disciples believe what the woman/women told them ?
Matthew: Yes, and they quickly left for Galilee.
Mark: No
Luke: No
John: Peter and John ran to check the tomb.
How many disciples did Jesus appear to first?
Matthew: All of them.
Mark: Two
Luke: Two
John: Ten
1 Corinthians: One
Where were the disciples told to go?
Matthew: Galilee
Luke: To stay in Jerusalem
1 Corinthians: To stay in Jerusalem
Where did Jesus ascend into Heaven?
Mark: Galilee
Luke: Bethany
Acts: Mt. Olivet
So here we have the most important story in Christianity, and they can't even  get it straight. Sorry, but if this actually happened, I'd expect the various accounts to be much closer than this.

I disagree with VP, that the four gospels are telling the same story, let alone a true one. Instead they appear to be different retellings of a mythical legend that was passed on and changed over time. Like a game of telephone, it changed again and again. And like a joke we all may know, the details differ
depending on where you go.

This is a very big tell that the story of Jesus' resurrection as told in the Bible is yet another fantastic myth. An old story with multiple versions that was certainly not divinely inspired.

-Brain Hulk

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