[Matthew and Mark] reported that the chief priests and the scribes mocked Jesus and challenged him to come down from the cross to prove that he was the Christ, the king of Israel [in Mark] and the Son of God [in Matthew]. …On the other hand, Luke presented a condensed summary of Mark and Matthew. In direct contrast to the synoptic Gospels, John omitted any mocking action of the Jewish leadership.
…if these highly significant details [the mocking of Jesus by the Jewish leadership] did, in fact occur, it seems implausible that John could have been unaware of them or that he deliberately omitted reporting them. [Conservative Christians believe that John was an eyewitness, standing at the very foot of the cross!]
The reason for John’s failure to mention the presence of the chief priests is because his timeline is based on a Nisan 14 crucifixion chronology when the paschal lambs were being slaughtered; this substantiates his theological agenda that Jesus was the paschal lamb. (NT Wright, 1996, 555) Consequently it would make perfect sense for John to omit the presence of the chief priests at the cross during the day that the lambs were to be slaughtered since it would be illogical for them to leave their posts in the temple on the busiest day of the year.
–Jewish author Michael J. Alter in The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry, p. 116
Gary: And we are asked to believe that these four authors were eyewitnesses to these events! Give me a break!
Let’s look at the “mocking of Jesus” passage in Matthew:
Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided[b] him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself.[c] He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44 The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.
Notice in this passage that there are three groups of people mocking Jesus.
- Those passing by the site of Jesus’ crucifixion.
- The chief priests, scribes and elders.
- The bandits who were crucified with Jesus.
Some clever fundamentalist Christian apologists will read this passage and cry foul:
“No where in this passage does it say that the chief priests, scribes, and elders were at the crucifixion site when they mocked Jesus.”
While this is true, anyone with any semblance of intelligence and education can see that their presence at the crucifixion is implied in the compositional structure of this passage. The passage starts off talking about “passer-bys” mocking Jesus. These persons were most certainly present at or at least in close proximity to the crucifixion location because they could see what was going on and identify that Jesus was one of the persons being crucified. The passage ends by stating that the bandits who were being crucified with Jesus “also taunted/mocked him”. Without question, the two bandits were present at the crucifixion location. Therefore, what are we to surmise about the location of the chief priests, scribes, and elders mentioned in this passage? Answer: They too were present at the crucifixion site! To say that the author of this passage included the mockery of one group of people not present at the crucifixion in-between two groups of people who were, without telling us that this second group was in another location, is the height of stupidity, or, a blatant display of a stubborn fundamentalist mentality that insists that there can be no errors in the Gospel accounts.
To any unbiased person, the account in Matthew (and Mark) clearly implies that the chief priests were present at Jesus crucifixion.
And that is a big problem for John’s account of the crucifixion. For the author of the Gospel of John, the crucifixion occurs on the day of preparation for the Passover (the day preceding the Passover), the 14th of Nisan, while in the three Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is crucified on Passover day (the 15th of Nisan) itself. In fact, in John’s account, Jesus is crucified at the very hour that the Passover lambs are being slaughtered by the priests in the Temple. Why? Answer: Because the “theme” of John’s Gospel is that Jesus is the Passover lamb, whose blood forgives sins and saves the people from the righteous wrath of God.
At the very hour that the “Lamb of God” was being slaughtered on Golgotha, thousands and thousands of real lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple. And who was doing the slaughtering? Answer: the priests!!! So if we attempt to harmonize the Synoptics with the Gospel of John, as fundamentalist Christians insist, we are forced to believe that John’s priests took a break during this prolonged lamb slaughter to traipse outside the city walls to participate in Matthew’s mockery of a Galilean peasant as he was crucified.
This is not believable, folks!!!
This is possibly the best proof that the authors of the four Gospels were most likely not eyewitnesses and that their accounts are not historically reliable.
End of post.