Matthew, Mark, Luke, John: 4 Errant Gospels Clash
Fact #1. The Gospel called Mark makes no mention of the Annunciation story (the announcement by an angel to Mary that she was to conceive a child fathered by God). In fact, in the Markan account, when Jesus publicly declares announces his divine origin, his family members believe that he has taken leave of his senses and seek to restrain him. (Mark 3:20-1).
The Contradiction: Matthew and Luke have an Annunciation story. If Mary had been informed by an angel that she was to be divinely impregnated, as she was according to Matthew and Luke, why then in Mark do his family members accuse him of insanity?
Fact #2. The Gospels called Matthew and Luke differ in their geneaology of Christ. The Gospels called Mark and John provide no geneaologies.
Matthew 1:14-16 traces an alleged ancestry of Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, thus: "Azor, the father of Zadok, Zadok, the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazr, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
Notice the contradiction to Matthew that are posed by Luke. In Luke 3:23-25, Joseph is not the son of Jacob but of Heli. Furthermore, the entire list of ancestors given in Matthew differs from that given in Luke.
Fact #3. Mark and Matthew have differing accounts of Jesus' cursing the fig tree. In Luke, the cursing of the fig tree is not an actual event but becomes a parable.
The Contradiction: In Mark 11:12-14 and 20, Jesus sees a fig tree in the distance and, hungry but unaware that the tree bears no fruit, he curses it and it later withers, but in 21:19-20 the tree is at the roadside (not in the distance) and the tree withers on the spot. In Mark, Jesus is presented as having limited knowlege and the miracle slowly takes place, but in Matthew the fig tree is on the roadside and the tree withers instantly.
In Mark, the story, presented as an actual event reads: "The next day as the were leaving for Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again.' And his disciples heard him say it...As they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, 'Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!'"
But in Matthew, the story reads considerably differently, although it remains an event: "Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road but found nothing on it but leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' Immediately the tree withered."
In Luke 13:6-7, the story becomes a parable in the mouth of Jesus, a example given to clarify a point in a sermon, rather than an event: "Then he told this parable. 'A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'"
Fact #4. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John differ at many points in their accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. Let's consider just a few.
1. Jesus' final words as he dies on the cross:
The Gospel of John claims in 19:3 that they were "It is finished" while Matthew 27:45 and Mark 15:33 have Jesus' final words as being "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Luke 23:44 makes the final utterance "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
2. The drink Jesus was offered while on the cross:
Mark 15:23 claims "Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it" while Matthew 27:34 states "There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall, but after tasting it, he refused to drink it." The account of John 19:28-30 is different still: "...Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.' A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.'..."
Notices the contradiction: Jesus refuses to drink/Jesus tates the drink and then refuses to drink/Jesus receives the drink
And again: The drink is wine with myrrh, a painkiller/ wine with gall, not a painkiller but an undrinkable substance.
Also, the wine is soaked into a sponge held by a stalk of the hyssop plant, which is mentioned only by John.
3. Jesus carries his own cross/Simon of Cyrene carries it
Mathew 27:32, Mark 15:21-2, and Luke 23:26 have Simon of Cyrene carry it for Jesus, while John 19:17 has Jesus carry it himself.
Matthew 27:31-3: "...Then they lead him away to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull)."
Mark 15:21-2: "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha..."
Luke 23:26: "As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus."
John 19:16-8: "...So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the Place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him..."
Fact #5. The criminals crucified beside Jesus behave differently in different Gospels.
In Matthew and Mark there is no mention of one criminal repenting and asking forgiveness of Christ ("In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him" - Matthew 27:44, "Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him" -Mark 15:31). John glosses over the two others being executed, in 19:18 saying only "Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side, and Jesus in the middle."
The account in Luke provides a striking contradiction to the other Gospels. 23:39 has the two criminals taking different sides concerning Jesus, one of them believing in him and requesting forgiveness: "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!' But the other criminal rebuked him. 'Don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'"
Fact #6. The same placard placed above Jesus on the cross reads differently in each of the gospels.
Matthew 27:37 "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Mark 15:26 "THE KING OF THE JEWS"
Luke 23:38 "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
John 19:19 "JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS"
Fact #7. The accounts of the resurrection and associated events are riddled with contradictions; here are just a couple.
1. Mark 16: 1-4 has the women find the stone rolled back already upon the womens' arrival and a glorious youth seated at the empty tomb waiting there, while Matthew 28:1-5 features an earthquake, and an angel (not a youth) descending at the moment of the earthquake to roll away the stone from the already-empty tomb.
2. Mark 16:4 uses a young man in a white robe, while Matthew 28:3 deploys an angel whose "appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow."
- Prophecies: Imaginary and Unfulfilled (not associated with this site)
- Skeptics' Annotated Bible (not associated with this site)
- Bible Contradictions (not associated with this site); go to links at bottom
- Joseph Smith's Attempt to Save [non-Bible] Book of Mormon (off this site)
- The Really Good News (not associated with this site)
- Bible-mandated punishments quiz; Parody church (not associated w/this site)