By Gabrielle Isaac Allison
Gabrielle is a Christian Apologist and writer hoping to share the gospel with anyone willing to hear it.
One of the main concerns atheists have with the historicity of Jesus is the fact that the supposed documents outlining his life, the gospels, seem to differ.
I too struggled with this fact when I was trying to understand God. Why would someone believe in a text that has differing accounts of Jesus’ life? Which one is right? Are all of them right? That can’t be right.
In an attempt to understand why so many believed that the gospels were all correct about Jesus, I turned to J. Warner Wallace’s “Cold Case Christianity.” Wallace is the apologist that perhaps helped me most, second only to Lee Strobel who I identified with as a journalist.
Wallace is a now retired cold case detective and was a pretty hardcore atheist in his day. He set out to find out if the Bible was accurate by examining the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as witness accounts of the life of Jesus.
In law enforcement, witnesses are known to have different stories. These different stories can then be patched together to help find the criminal. If you’ve ever watched crime shows like Criminal Minds or Law and Order, you will know that witnesses and suspects are separated from one another so they don’t have time to “get their story straight.”
The truth is, for every piece of the story, new information comes to light. There are several reasons why someone might not report that they saw or heard something.
This is an example I pulled from Wallace’s book and mentioned in the movie “God’s Not Dead 2” where he is called as an expert witness in a case about God’s existence.
Matthew 26:67-68 says:
“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and other smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”
Wallace points out that asking Christ to “prophesy” to them about who hit Him would be more than a lame joke at Jesus’ expense since he is obviously in the same room as the people tormenting and mocking Him.
But it all makes sense when you read Luke 22:63-64.
“And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?”
Here we are told that Jesus was blindfolded, making it clear why the tormenters asked Him to prophesy, or forsee, who hit Him.
Does this mean that the writer intentionally left out the details in the story to mislead future readers? Think back to the example given of witness testimony in criminal cases. Perhaps the disciple or writer who was present at this time was turned away from Jesus or just entering a crowded room where he couldn’t see Jesus. Maybe he looked away after the tormenters spat in his face.
This is only one of several examples of this kind of “witness testimony patching” you find in the Gospels. Another is found in the feeding of the 5,000 when Jesus asks Philip, a secondary character and not one of the more talked about disciples, where He could get food to feed the 5,000 in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of Luke, it is revealed that Philip was from the area, so he would have known where the best place to get food would have been.
The important thing to remember in both crime and Jesus' life narrated in the Bible's Gospels is that, although the details don't always exactly agree, everyone who witnessed it agreed that it happened. A witness may not have been present or known all of the details, but they know it happened. This is the same for the Bible.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all agreed on Jesus' ministry, death on the cross, and resurrection. They all seemingly identify Him as God in the flesh and agree that He performed great works during his ministry.
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HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: