Both historians and people connected to the subject by religious beliefs have been trying for ages to find out more about the life of Jesus. Did he really exist? Is it true what has been written in the Bible? Was he really able to cure people just by a simple touch? Was he the true “Son of God”? All those questions would remain open without a confirmed and certain answer. If he was a real person that lived and walked on the very same earth we do it is amazing how influential could a single person’s life be. The only information we can find about him is stored in the Bible. There are no other sufficient sources that the human kind can use. His life is described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but still the stories differ in many facts and they even resemble a lot of the other stories told in the wholly book. In this paper I will analyze whether a Gospel could be called a true historical source, by citing the Bible I would explain what exactly could be learned about Jesus from the book and will also talk about how reliable a source the Bible is, and last but not least how and why did he die.
A Gospel is the writing of an Apostle. Most Christians believe in those writings without even doubting whether it actually happened this way or not. From a historical point of view some of the facts could be used as a source but sometimes when applying simple logic, one could easily reject some of them. It is up to the historians to separate the two. As it is known all the Gospels were written a considerable amount of the time after Jesus’ supposed death. Mark’s Gospel was written first, Matthew’s and Luke’s were about twenty years later and the latest Gospel, the one written by John was written between the year ninety and a hundred. It is believed that the work of both Luke and Mark were based on the writings of Matthew. Although they used the same source of information they still differ in many facts and ways. For example, lets take a quote from Matthew’s Gospel which reads: “How blessed are the poor in spirit” (pg.1152, 5:3). Luke on the other hand supposedly cites the same speech but there it says: “How blessed are you who are poor” (pg.1214, 6:20). Although the words are similar the whole idea is completely different in two versions. The first one implies that people who lack in intelligence are blessed and happier and the second one says that people who have humble origins and possess no material assets are better off.
Another proof of discrepancy is that in Matthew’s Gospel on pg. 1152 he describes how Jesus went up to the mountain to meet with people and Luke’s version on pg.1214, describes the very same event, by stating that Jesus came down to the people. Whether it was up or down does not make a significant difference for us but it brings the idea that if such different words like “up” and “down” were mixed, may be more important events and details are confused too. “The Sermon on the Mountain” in Matthew’s Gospel starts on page 1152 and ends on 1157, which makes it five pages long, and it takes only page and a half in Luke’s Gospel on pg.1214. It is believed that this event did not actually take place but is a compilation of couple of Jesus’ speeches through a long period of time. Those speeches, collected by the Apostles as a written proof of what happened, are believed to be compiled in one single speech. Although Matthew and Luke’s Gospels differ in many ways the one that differs the most from the rest is John’s, may be because it was written the last. Historians assume that John has not read the other Gospels and that he used other sources for his writing (Mr. Trumbach). They wonder why such a striking difference exists between the Gospels. An important fact to consider is that although historians use Matthew and Luke’s Gospels as more reliable sources of historical information still none of the Apostles actually eye witnessed Jesus’ life. It is believed that most of them are based on the other writings, done by people who actually lived in his lifetime and directly knew him or witnessed important events of his life. Those authors, though, remain unknown.
During Jesus’ lifetime people believed that he was a profit from God, they believed in his healing abilities or in other words that he could cure a sick person just by touching his forehead. On pg.1157 – the book of Matthew, a wonder is described- Jesus heals two blind men by simple touch. Some of these incredible abilities were ascribed to other biblical characters too, but some were uniquely typical for Jesus himself. There is another example in Mark’s Gospel- “He took aside to be by themselves, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. And his ears were opened, and at once the impediment of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly” (Mark, pg.1192, 7:33). It is explained that he was able to do this because it was believed that the spirit of God entered him and helped him get out the evil spirits that supposedly caused the illness. “He (Jesus) at once came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down from heaven” (Matthew, pg.1151, 3:16). Another miracle describes in the Gospels is that Jesus could bring people back from the dead. This is clearly defined on pg.1189, 5:29. There was a dead little girl whom he brought back from the dead, he shook the child and said: “Talitha kum!” which means, “Little girl, I tell you to get up”, and the child got up and walked. Although other prophets preformed those miracles too as stated in the Bible why was it him that made people wander? Why was it him that was believed to be the Son of God and the Holy prophet: “Christ, the son of the living God” (Matthew, pp.1166, 16:13). The Christians today and the Jews in Jesus’ time interpret this sentence in different ways. At that ancient time “Christ” meant king, or someone who had the sacred oil poured over his head. This could be viewed from the passage on (pg.1238, 23:3) when Jesus was brought before Pilate and was accused of claming to be the “Christ”, which meant the king. “Son of God”, on the other hand, did not necessarily meant literally the Son of God. Many people were called that way. They even believed that all the Israelis are God’s children as Yahweh ones called them: “Israel is my first-born son” (Exodus, 4:22). The only known way that Jesus called himself was “Son of man” (Matthew, pg.1166, 16:13), which in this time was considered to be the modest and polite way of introducing oneself.
Some people, though, did not believe him. For example, even members of his family thought, “he is out of his mind” (Mark, pg.1186, 3:21). Someone, on the other hand, were afraid of him and they said he made a pact with the devil: “the man drives out devils only through Beelzebul, the chief of devils” (Matthew, pg.1161, 12:24). Jesus replied to those by asking: “And if it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out, through whom do your own experts drive them out?” (Matthew, pg.1161, 12:27). This cite proves that Jesus himself believed or at least did not deny his powers and the powers of the other prophets.
As stated above Jesus was trailed for claiming to be the king of the people. Once when he was in Jerusalem, preaching his faith and performing his healings he got arrested and sentenced to death by crucifixion. This is how it is said it happen in the Bible. When Jesus went into the Temple, he drove out all the people who were buying and selling things and “upset the tables of the money-changers and the seats of the dove-sellers” (Matthew, pg.1171, 21:12). He was angry with them because they did not use the temple for its primal purpose but instead were corrupting it with unclean bargains.
That is when the people started wondering why is Jesus doing such things and asked him “What authority have you for acting like this?” (Matthew, pg.1173, 21:23). When he did not answer them, the priests got angry and turned against him since they thought that he had no real right to exercise power and to speak the words of God. When Jesus was speaking to the disciples after a prayer, “a number of man appeared, and at the head of them the man called Judas who went up to Jesus and kissed him” (Luke, pg 1238, 22:47). He was the only one among the guards who could actually identify him. Since he was one of his students, by kissing him he pointed him out to the rest so they could know who he is and arrest him. Jesus was accused before Pilate by the priests: “They began their accusation by saying, “We found this man inciting our people to revolt, opposing payment of the tribute to Caesar, and claiming to be Christ, a king” (Luke, pg.1238, 23:2). “The chief priests and the elders, have persuaded the crowed to demand the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus” (Matthew, pg.1180, 27:20). From this cite it is seen that they considered Jesus to be more dangerous than Barabbass who as stated above was a thief and a murderer. He (Barabbas) had been thrown into prison because of a riot in the city and murder” (Luke, pg.1238, 23:19). Although the Pilate clearly told the Jews that he had no case against Jesus, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Luke, pg.1239, 23:21) and “Pilate then gave his verdict: their demand was to be granted” (Luke, pg.1239, 23:24). And then Jesus was lead to his crucifixion, where “they crucified him and the two criminals, one on his right, the other on his left” (Luke, pg.1239, 23:33). “Above his head was placed the charge against him; it read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews’” (Matthew, pg.1181, 27:37).
Why is it in Genesis that Adam was made then Eve? Were they adults when they were create? If a man can conceive and perform evil, and man is made in the image of God does that mean God is partially evil also. Questions that lack answers. The truth is that no one really knows the truth. What is truth anyway? Is it reality or one’s perception of reality? Truth is a black cavernous room with no door and no windows. Just when you find the door, open it and step through the threshold you find you’ve just stepped into another Obsidian cavern with no door and no windows. When man finally thinks he has discovered the mystery of the Bible, another obstacle is thrown in his path to corrupt his theories. To find the truth one must search not on pages of parchment and centuries of aged ink, but deep within oneself to the inner secret called faith.