The first three gospels of the Christian New Testament are commonly called synoptic - which in Greek means seeing together. In describing the life and teachings of Jesus the Synoptic Gospels generally follow the same chronological data, and describe the events in almost identical language. This is not true only of the material attributed to the lips of Jesus, but also of the common narrative passages. Three distinct authors - writing independently of each other - could have never produced the Synoptic Gospels in their present form. This is the conclusion of almost every Bible scholar. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary on p. 500, corroborates this fact:
“…the idea prevails that the first three gospels are not three independent compositions. This is practically UNANIMOUS CRITICAL OPINION.”
In order to solve the Synoptic problem, some Christians attribute this phenomenon to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the Tridentine Council solemnly declared that every word in the Bible was actually dictated by the Holy Spirit. It is possible to grant that this miraculous work is the product of the Holy Spirit and thus explain why the three gospels have so much common material. But it is absolutely impossible to concede that the Holy Spirit deliberately and purposefully designed these gospels in such a way that in almost every single instant either Matthew or Luke would deviate from Mark so that they would disagree with each other. Even when we deal with the material common to Matthew and Luke alone we still discover that the two gospels deliberately and purposefully disagree. Would the Holy Spirit deliberately choose to pervert the true accounts and inspire either Matthew or Luke to tell a lie in a process? I will first present a sample of Synoptic passages where Matthew always deviates from Mark in order to disagree with Luke. Then I will refer to the Synoptic passages where Luke always deviates from Mark in order to disagree with Matthew. Afterwards I will quote the material common to Matthew and Luke alone where either Matthew or Luke deliberately and purposefully cause his account to disagree with the other gospel.
Matthean Deviation From Mark
Mark says that when Jesus and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee they arrived at the region called Gadarenes. As soon as they arrived, a demoniac met them whom Jesus eventually healed [Mark 5:1-8]. Luke agrees with Mark in his version of this story. He likewise says that the region was called Gadarenes and that only one demoniac was involved [Luke 8:26-29]. But the Gospel of Matthew must not agree with that of Luke, so the Matthean account now deviates from that of Mark. Matthew calls the region not Gadarenes - as Mark and Luke do - but actually Gergesenes. He also states that there was not one but two demoniacs [Matthew 8:28-29]. The Matthean account even changes the singular pronouns of Mark and Luke to plural.
Mark writes that Jesus sent two of his disciples to bring him a colt and that he eventually entered Jerusalem riding on this colt [Mark 11:1-2,7]. Luke agrees with Mark. He also states that only a colt was involved and that Jesus was riding only a colt [Luke 19:29-30,35]. But Matthew again deviates from Mark in order not to agree with Luke. Matthew emphasises that the disciples brought an ass and her colt and that Jesus actually rode them both as he entered Jerusalem [Matthew 21:1-2,6]. It is hard to imagine Jesus riding the two animals at the same time. But Matthean account maintains this in order to disagree with Luke - even if in doing so means to be stupid and tell a lie.
Several days after entering Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare a room where Jesus and the Twelve could eat the Passover meal. Mark places these words on the lips of the two disciples when they approached the owner of the house:
“The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? [Mark 14:14].
Luke agrees with Mark:
“The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? [Luke 22:11].
But Matthew deviates from Mark and so accomplishes his purpose - to disagree with Luke:
“The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples” [Matthew 26:18].
Here again we have two against one and Matthew disagreeing with Luke. One particular Sabbath Jesus went to Simon’s house and found that his mother in law was sick. He healed her of her fever. Now when Mark referred to Peter he uses the name Simon [Mark 1:29-31]. Luke agrees with him. Referring to the same incident, Luke also uses the name Simon [Luke 4:38-39]. But Matthew now must deviate from Mark in order to disagree with Luke. So what does he do? He uses the name Peter instead [Matthew 8:14-15]. John the Baptist spoke of Jesus. He told the people that Jesus was greater than he. He said something about the shoes of Jesus:
“the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose” [Mark 1:17].
Luke agrees with Mark. His text reads:
“the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose” [Luke 3:16].
Matthew must disagree with Luke. So he alters Mark’s version and makes his own text say:
“whose shoes I am not worthy to bear” [Matthew 3:11].
The Synoptic gospels portray Judas Iscariot as traitor. He went to the chief priests and offered to deliver Jesus into their hands. Mark says that they promised Judas money [Mark 14:11]. Luke agrees with him. He also uses the word money [Luke 22:5]. But Matthew cannot use the same word since by doing so he would agree with Luke so he changes his text to read thirty pieces of silver [Matthew 26:15].
Mark says that one day Jesus led his disciples through cornfields [Mark 2:23]. Luke agrees with him. He also uses the word cornfields [Luke 6:1]. Matthew of course must deviate from Mark so that he can disagree with Luke. He chooses the word corn instead [Matthew 12:1]. Would the Holy Spirit opt to play word games? Would She inspire the original authors to distort the truth in order to uphold the Synoptic principle? Jesus spoke concerning the important subject of divorce. Mark places this statement on the lips of Jesus:
“Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery” [Mark 10:11].
Luke agrees with him:
“Whoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery” [Luke 16:18].
Mark and Luke agree: marriage is unconditional. No divorce - full stop. But Matthew cannot agree. Even though we are faced with an important and very significant doctrine, Matthew must resort to his word play in order to disagree with Luke. So he adds a clause in the mouth of Jesus:
“Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and marry another, committeth adultery” [Matthew 19:9].
Shortly before his death Jesus made a remark concerning the temple after some of his disciples pointed out its massive stones and beauty. As they were sitting on the Mount of Olives his disciples asked him to clarify his remark. Mark places these words in the mouth of the disciples:
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” [Mark 13:4].
Luke agrees with Mark. His text reads:
“Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” [Luke 21:7].
Mark and Luke agree that the question had to do only and exclusively with the destruction of the temple - when there was not going to be one stone left upon another - as Jesus pointed out. But Matthew must deviate from Mark so that he may disagree with Luke. So he places the following words in the mouth of the disciples:
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” [Matthew 24:3].
Jesus began explaining that there would first of all come deceivers in his name saying I am Christ [Mark 13:6]. Luke agrees with Mark. He also uses the expression I am Christ [Luke 21:8]. You will note that in the King James Bible the word Christ is in italics. This means that it was supplied by the translators and that it does not appear in the Greek text. The Greek text simply uses Ego eimi [I am]. Virtually all New English Versions omit the italicised word Christ. So Mark and Luke simply use the phrase I am. But Matthew deviates from Mark and uses the phrase Ego eimi o christos - that is, I am the Christ. You will note that the word “Christ” in Matthew is not in italics in the King James Bible. So again we have two against one and Matthew disagreeing with Luke. When Jesus was crucified, Pilate wrote an inscription as to why he was crucified. Mark says that this inscription read:
The King of the Jews” [Mark 15:26].
Luke agrees with Mark:
This is the King of the Jews” [Luke 23:38].
But Matthew deviates from Mark and makes the inscription read:
“This is Jesus the King of the Jews” [Matthew 27:37].
Now I will present the Synoptic passages in which Luke deviates from Mark and therefore causes his gospel to disagree with Matthew.
Lukan Deviation From Mark
Mark reports that Peter and his brother Andrew were chosen by Jesus at the Sea of Galilee while they were throwing their fishing nets into the sea [Mark 1:16-18]. Then shortly afterwards, but independently of this incident, Jesus chose James and John at the same sea while they were mending the fishing nets with their father. He called them and they became his disciples [Mark 1:19-20]. Matthew agrees with Mark. He says the same thing [Matthew 4:18-20 and 4:21-22]. But Luke deviates from Mark in order to disagree with Matthew. He reports that Peter, Andrew, James, and John were chosen all together and at the same time at a different place, at a different chronological date and under different circumstances than reported by Mark and Matthew [Luke 5:1-11].
Mark identifies the twelve disciples of Jesus by the following names: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot [Mark 3:16-19]. Matthew agrees with Mark but he slightly rearranges the order of the names [Matthew 10:2-4]. Luke however deviates from Mark so that his list of names would not agree with that of Matthew. Simon the Canaanite becomes Simon Zelotes, and Thaddaeus is replaced with Judas. Luke ends up with two disciples named Judas [Luke 6:14-16]. Thus again we have two against one and Matthew and Luke not agreeing.
Jesus promised that some of his disciples would live to see his glory. It was six days after this promise that Jesus fulfilled it. Matthew agrees with him. He also says six days. But Luke disagrees and uses eight days. Mark and Matthew say that he took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain and was transfigured. But Luke disagrees by reversing the names, deleting ‘high’ and using the word altered rather than transfigured. Compare Mark 9:1-2, Matthew 16:28; 17:1-2 with Luke 9:27-28].
When Jesus spoke of the destruction of the temple he used the term the abomination of desolation [Mark 13:14]. Matthew agrees with him. He uses the identical term[24:15-16]. But Luke disagrees and alters Mark account to Jerusalem compassed with armies - so that he may disagree with Matthew [Luke 21:20-21]. Jesus told the disciples that they should learn the lesson from the fig tree according to Mark 13:28 and Matthew 24:32. But Luke changes this to fig tree and all the trees [Luke 21:29]. Jesus said that when all was about to be fulfilled they should know that the destruction as at the doors [Mark 13:29 and Matthew 24:33]. But Luke again disagrees and changes his version to at hand [Luke 21:30]. The Synoptic principle or pattern continues unabated and we always have two against one and Matthew and Luke disagreeing. During the night of his arrest - while serving the supper - Jesus pointed out that the betrayer’s hand dippeth in the dish [Mark 14:20 and Matthew 26:23]. But according to Luke it was on the table [Luke 22:21]. Jesus took bread and broke it and then gave it to his disciples and said to them:
"Take, eat: this is my body” [Mark 14:22].
Matthew agrees with Mark:
“Take, eat: this is my body” [Matthew 26:26].
But Luke distorts the text of Mark so that he may disagree with Matthew and makes his text read:
“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” [Luke 22:19].
According to Mark 14:23-24 and Matthew 26:27-28 the wine represented the blood of Jesus which was shed for many. But Luke has it for you [Luke 22:20]. A little later Jesus told his disciples that the Son of Man will be indeed killed as it was written [Mark 14:21 and Matthew 26:24]. But Luke changes this to determined [Luke 22:22]. When Jesus was arrested he told the chief priests and the mob that they are arresting him in order to fulfil the scripture [Mark 14:49 and Matthew 26:56]. But Luke disagrees and points out that the arrest took place because it was their hour and power of darkness [Luke 22:53]. Mark reports that Jesus died with a loud cry and that his last words were Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani [Mark 15:34]. Matthew agrees with Mark. He says the same thing [Matthew 27: 46]. But Luke deviates from Mark in order to make his text read differently from that of Matthew. He reports that the last words spoken were Father, into thine hands I commend my spirit [Luke 23:46].
After Jesus died, the centurion was amazed at the events he saw. Mark and Matthew have him say the following words:
“Truly this man was the Son of God” [Mark 15:39].
“Truly this was the Son of God” [Matthew 27:54].
But Luke disagrees. He makes the centurion say the following words:
“Certainly this was a righteous man” [Luke 23:47].
Mark and Matthew agree that Jesus was crucified and died on GOLGOTHA:
“And they bring him unto the place GOLGOTHA, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull” [Mark 15:22].
“And when they were come unto a place called GOLGOTHA, that is to say, a place of a skull” [Matthew 27:33].
But Luke deviates from Mark and does not use the name GOLGOTHA but rather CALVARY:
“And when they were come to the place, which is called CALVARY, there they crucified him” [Luke 23:33].
Mark and Matthew agree that there was ONLY ONE ANGEL at the tomb of Jesus:
“And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he said unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” [Mark 16:5-7].
“And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow…And the angel answered and said unto the women, fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you” [Matthew 28:2-7].
Mark and Matthew agree that there was only one angel who was sitting - dressed in white. He spoke with the women and told them to go and tell the disciples that Jesus is alive and that he was on his way to Galilee. That is where the disciples were told to go in order to see him. But Luke deviates from Mark in order to disagree with Matthew. He says that there were TWO ANGELS and that they did not instruct the disciples to go to GALILEE since, according to him, the appearance actually occurred in Judaea - Jerusalem - and not Galilee. Please note how Luke changes Mark’s account and the words spoken to the women:
“And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold TWO MEN stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, THEY said unto them, why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words” [Luke 24:2-8].
Mark’s account was changed so that Luke’s version would not agree with Matthew. He has two angels, in shining rather than white garment, poses a question to the women rather than a statement. And most significantly, Luke completely changes the context of the words concerning Galilee. He does so in order to be able to also disagree with Matthew as to where the actual first appearance of Jesus to his disciples took place. In Luke 24:9 Luke says that the women went and reported the matter to the ELEVEN APOSTLES and the REST but they did not believe their story. Verses 13-32 state how Jesus met two of the disciples [not of the Twelve] on the way to a village called Emmaus. One of them was named Clopas. He was invited to their place late that afternoon. When he broke bread before meal the two disciples realised that it was Jesus. As soon as they realised this they immediately returned to Jerusalem which was about 10 kilometres from Emmaus.
“And they rose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the ELEVEN gathered together, and those who were with them, Saying, Truly our Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon. And they [two disciples] also reported those things that happened on the road, and how they knew him as he broke bread. And while they were discussing these things, Jesus stood among them, and said to them, Peace be with you...and as they still did not believe because of their joy, and they were bewildered, he said to them, Have you anything here to eat? They gave him a portion of BROILED FISH and of a honeycomb. And HE TOOK IT AND ATE BEFORE THEIR EYES” [Luke 24:33-43].
There is no doubt at all that this text most plainly reveals that Jesus ate FISH and HONEY on Sunday evening in the presence of his ELEVEN APOSTLES and some others. Luke clearly portrays Jesus in Jerusalem on Sunday night and that is where his first appearance to the disciples takes place. In his claim he deviates from Mark in order to disagree with Matthew - as we shall now see. On the night of his arrest Jesus is quoted by Mark as saying:
“But after I’m raised to life, I’ll go ahead of you to GALILEE” [Mark 14:28].
The angel said to the women at the tomb on Sunday morning:
“Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to GALILEE. YOU WILL SEE HIM THERE, JUST AS HE TOLD YOU” [Mark 16:7].
According to the testimony of Mark, Jesus clearly told his disciples that after he is risen from the dead he would go to GALILEE and that is where the disciples were going to see him. Matthew 26:32 also quotes Jesus as telling his disciples that after he is risen from the dead he would go ahead of them to GALILEE:
“But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”
Matthew quotes the angel as saying to the women:
“...Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to GALILEE. Go there, and you will see him” [Matthew 28:7].
Jesus himself appeared to the women and said:
“Don’t be afraid! Tell my followers to go to GALILEE. They’ll see me there” [Matthew 28:10].
Then in Matthew 28:16 we read the following:
“Jesus’ ELEVEN DISCIPLES went to a mountain in GALILEE, where Jesus had told them to meet him”.
According to Matthew the ELEVEN APOSTLES went to GALILEE to a mountain Jesus specified. There, IN GALILEE, the disciples saw Jesus for the first time after his resurrection. The account of Luke therefore cannot be reconciled with the text of Mark and especially that of Matthew. Again we have two against one. Digressing here just for a moment, I would like to point out that Luke 24:41-43 is the only text where it is explicitly stated that Jesus actually ATE MEAT. But now you know that this text is simply not true if you believe Mark and Matthew. Jesus was not in Jerusalem that Sunday evening but was on his way to Galilee. Jesus’ first appearance did not take place in Jerusalem but rather in GALILEE - as Mark and Matthew clearly point out. Therefore the text of Luke so often cited as proof that Jesus was a meat eater and therefore not a vegetarian - as many sources prove - is a forgery. By now it has been demonstrated that the Synoptic principle dictates that Luke and Matthew would not agree. Not only is this true of the material all three evangelists have in common but even of the material that Matthew and Luke only have in common. This fact will now be demonstrated.
Matthean And Lukan Discrepancies
Both Matthew and Luke give their own version of the birth of Jesus. But as always they simply do not agree. Matthew maintains that Joseph and Mary lived in Judaea when Mary fell pregnant and that Mary gave birth in Bethlehem. From Judaea they escaped to Egypt. After Herod died they returned to the “land of Israel” - meaning Judaea. After they learnt that Herod’s son reigned over Judaea in his father’s place, they were afraid and decided to go to Galilee instead. Matthew has them settle in Nazareth ONLY AFTER THEY RETURNED FROM EGYPT:
“And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in JUDAEA in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither [Judaea]: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, HE TURNED ASIDE INTO THE PARTS OF GALILEE: and he came and dwelt in a city called NAZARETH” [Matthew 2:13-23].
Matthew has Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem of Judaea. That is why he says nothing about taxing and their journey to Bethlehem. They did not have to journey to Bethlehem since they lived there. They wanted to return to Bethlehem from Egypt but were afraid and so they settled in Nazareth instead. But Luke has both Joseph and Mary living in NAZARETH of GALILEE while they were still unmarried and before Mary even fell pregnant. In fact, Luke says that Gabriel was sent to the city of NAZARETH in order to tell Mary that she was going to become pregnant with the Messiah. Luke 1:26 says that Gabriel went to see Mary in NAZARETH. Luke 2:4-5 says that Joseph and Mary went from NAZARETH to Bethlehem. Matthew says that Joseph, Mary and Jesus escaped to Egypt, while Luke says that they went to Jerusalem’s temple in order to perform the rites of purification. Luke knows nothing about Herod’s wish to kill Jesus and the children of Bethlehem. For Luke there was no need to run to Egypt but rather it was perfectly safe to travel to Jerusalem and even to the very temple. After Joseph and Mary finished their rites in the temple they returned to NAZARETH - their own town [Luke 2:39]. Matthew has the Magi come from Persia and visit the child. Luke knows nothing of this. He has the shepherds visiting Bethlehem and the angelic hosts singing. Matthew has God saying at Jesus’ baptism the following words:
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” [Matthew 3:17].
Luke changes this to read:
"Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” [Luke 3:22].
Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage to David through Joseph and SOLOMON [Matthew 1:6,16]. Luke can’t agree with Matthew so he traces Jesus’ lineage to David through Joseph and NATHAN - Solomon’s brother [Luke 3:23,31]. After his baptism Jesus went to the desert where he was tempted by the Devil. Matthew says that the order of temptation was in the following manner:
1. TO TURN STONES INTO BREAD [Matthew 4:3].
2. TO JUMP FROM THE PINACLE OF THE TEMPLE [Matthew 4:5].
3. TO BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP SATAN [Matthew 4:9].
Now Luke of course can’t agree with Matthew. So what does he do? He reverses the order of temptation.
1. TO TURN STONES INTO BREAD [Luke 4:3].
2. TO BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP SATAN [Luke 4:7].
3. TO JUMP FROM THE PINACLE OF THE TEMPLE [Luke 4:9].
One of Jesus’ disciples was originally a TAX COLLECTOR. Matthew calls him MATTHEW:
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named MATTHEW, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, follow me. And he arose, and followed him” [Matthew 9:9].
Luke can’t agree with Matthew so he names this disciple LEVI:
“And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named LEVI, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him” [Luke 5:27-28].
Matthew has Jesus saying to the Pharisees that he casts out demons “with the Spirit of God”:
“But if I cast out devils by the SPIRIT OF GOD, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” [Matthew 12:28].
Luke must deviate from Matthew so he uses the phrase “finger of God”:
“But if I with the FINGER OF GOD cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” [Luke 11:20].
Now let us compare the “beatitudes” and the rest of this important speech of Jesus. Matthew says that Jesus ascended the mountain and then delivered his speech in a sitting position [Matt. 5:1]. Luke says that Jesus descended from the mountain to a plain and delivered his speech in a standing position [Luke 6:12,17]. In Matthew, Jesus uses the pronouns “they, theirs,” [verses 3-10] while in Luke “you, yours” [verses 20-21]. In Luke, Jesus also pronounces “woes” while Matthew knows nothing of these. In Matthew, Jesus uses the term “Kingdom of Heaven” while in Luke “Kingdom of God.” In Luke 6:20 the poor are blessed while in Matthew 5:3 the poor in spirit. In Matthew 5:4 “mourners shall be comforted” while in Luke 6:21 “mourners shall laugh.” In Matthew, Jesus says “revile you, persecute you” [verse 11] while in Luke “hate you, ex-communicate you” [verse 22]. All this was to be done “for my sake” [Matthew 5:11] but “for the Son of Man’s sake” in Luke 6:22. In Matthew 5:15 people do not put a candle “under a bushel” while in Luke 8:16 “under a bed.”
When hated and persecuted the disciples should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” [Matthew 5:12] but according to Luke 6:23 Jesus said “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy.” When Jesus spoke of doing good he said to do good even to “publicans” [Matthew 5:46] but according to Luke 6:33 “sinners.” In Matthew 5:48 the audience was to strive to be “perfect as the Father is perfect” while in Luke 6:36 they were to strive to be “merciful as the Father is merciful.” In Matthew 5:45 the righteous are “Children of the Father” while in Luke 6:35 “Children of the Highest.” In Matthew 5:45 Yahweh is kind to “just and unjust” while in Luke 6:35 to “unfaithful and evil.” In Matthew 7:16 Jesus said that people do not collect “grapes from thorns” and “figs from thistles” while in Luke 6:44 he says “grapes from bramble bush” and “figs from thorns.” In Matthew 7:26 the foolish man builds his house “upon the sand” while in Luke 6:49 “upon the earth.”
During this speech Jesus also taught his disciples and the general public how to pray. He taught them the prayer commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer” [Matthew 6:9-13]. But according to Luke, Jesus did not teach his disciples this prayer then but rather later - when the disciples asked him to do so - since John the Baptist also taught his disciples how to pray [Luke 11:1-4]. Matthew and Mark do not only disagree on their chronology but they also disagree on the content of the prayer. But then so they should. The Synoptic principle dictates that they should disagree just about on any subject. Here is the comparison of the “Lord’s Prayer” according to the two versions - that of Matthew and Luke:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
As in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins;
For we also forgive everyone
That is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
A close comparison reveals that either Matthew or Luke deliberately rearranged and changed the content of the prayer so that they would not agree. Now let us continue and see that there are further deliberate alterations by either Matthew or Luke so that their gospels would simply not agree. In Matthew 8:5-10 a centurion’s servant was “sick of the palsy, grievously tormented” while in Luke 7:1-9 he was “sick and ready to die.” In Matthew the centurion personally goes to Jesus for his help while in Luke he sends “elders of the Jews.” In Matthew 12:39-40 Yahshua says this concerning the sign of Jonah:
“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
But in Luke 11:29-30 Jesus has this to say instead:
“This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.”
According to Matthew 23:23 the scribes and Pharisees pay tithe “of mint and anise and cummin” while according to Luke 11:42 “mint and rue and all manner of herbs.” In Matthew 23:27 the scribes and Pharisees are like “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead man’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” But according to Luke 11:44 they are as “graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.” In Matthew 23:4 the scribes and Pharisees “bind heavy burdens “ which they would not lift with even one finger.” In Luke 11:46 it is not the scribes and Pharisees who do this but actually lawyers. In Matthew 23:29 the scribes and Pharisees “build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous” while in Luke 11:47 the lawyers actually do that. In Matthew 23:13 it is the scribes and Pharisees who neither entered the kingdom themselves nor allowed other to do so. But in Luke 11:52 it is not the scribes and Pharisees who did so but rather lawyers. In Luke 12:24 “ravens” are fed by “God” while in Matthew 6:26 “fowls” by “Heavenly Father.”
According to Luke 18:35-43 a blind man met Jesus in Jericho as he was on his way to Jerusalem. Jesus gave him sight. But according to Matthew 20:29-34 there was not one man but two. I can go on and on - citing other examples. But this is not necessary. The quotations provided indisputably prove that the gospels of Matthew and Luke were written in such a way so that they would simply not agree. Now the Tridentine Council has stated that every word in the Bible was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Did the Holy Spirit dictate the Synoptic gospels in such a way that generally two gospels would agree against one and the gospels of Matthew and Luke to disagree? What about the Gospel of John? This gospel is not a Synoptic Gospel because very little of its content has any parallel in the Synoptic Gospels. But when we carefully study the Gospel of John and then compare it with the Synoptic Gospels, then we realise just how really different this gospel is from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
John vs. The Synoptic Gospels
John’s gospel is most loved by Christians and it is regarded as the most beautiful and spiritual. This may be so, but how reliable is this gospel? How much historical truth does it really contain? The Gospel of John is strikingly different from the Synoptic Gospels. Only about eight percent of its content is actually paralleled in the Synoptics. In the Synoptics the disciples are referred to as APOSTLES. This word never appears in John’s gospel. The Synoptics [especially Matthew and Luke] contain many PARABLES by which Jesus actually taught the public. In fact, it is expressly said that Jesus never spoke to the public in any other way but the PARABLES. There is not even one single parable in John. On the contrary, Jesus engages in many long doctrinal and theological discourses with the Jews. In the Synoptics, Jesus never claimed to be the “Son of God” or “Messiah.” In fact, when someone tried to identify him as the “Messiah” or the “Son of God” Jesus sternly forbade them to ever mention that again or to say so to anyone. According to John’s version, Jesus does not only tolerate such statements but actually personally states and makes it public on many occasions that he is the “Messiah” and the “Son of God.” He does not only says so but actually expects others to identify him as such.
In the Synoptics, Jesus never visits Jerusalem - throughout his ministry he restricts himself to Galilee and the region of Sidon. He never visits Jerusalem - even when the annual festivals were observed there. But John depicts Jesus observing at least two Passovers in Jerusalem, one Feast of Dedication, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Most of his mission is actually depicted in Judaea - especially in Jerusalem. On several occasions the Jews attempted to stone him but he miraculously escapes. The Synoptics are full of stories how Jesus cast out many demons - on so many different occasions. Not even a single word is said of this in John’s gospel. Many miracles are recorded in the Synoptics. John records only SEVEN MIRACLES. Here are the SEVEN MIRACLES - SIGNS - as John calls them, in their chronological order:
TURNING WATER INTO WINE IN CANA OF GALILEE
HEALING THE SON OF A CERTAIN ROYAL PERSON IN CAPERNAUM
HEALING OF AN INVALID AT BETHESDA’S POOL
FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND
WALKING ON WATER
OPENING THE EYES OF THE MAN BORN BLIND
RAISING LAZARUS BACK TO LIFE
Miracles three, six, and seven, could not be historical events if the Synoptic Gospels are correct. For there we are told that Jesus never stepped on the soil of Judaea until he actually went there several days before he was killed. If this was really so, then these Jerusalem and Bethany miracles are fictions. The Synoptics show that Jesus did not begin his public ministry until John was actually imprisoned [Mark 1:14]. But the Gospel of John has Jesus and John both working and preaching at the same time. In fact, John even reports a dispute and arguments between Jesus’ and John’s disciples. John says that Jesus baptised and made more converts than did John. The gospel has Jesus baptising in the Judaean countryside while John in Aenon - near Salim [John 3:23]. Verse 24 explicitly states that all this took place “before John was put in prison”, and therefore directly contradicts the account of the Synoptic Gospels - especially that of Mark 1:14.
We have seen earlier that Luke contradicted Mark and Matthew in his account of how the first disciples were chosen. But John contradicts both Mark and Matthew as well as the account of Luke. We have seen that Mark and Matthew show that Peter and Andrew were chosen first - at the Sea of Galilee. They were chosen TOGETHER - AT THE SAME TIME. Shortly afterwards, James and John were chosen at the same sea. But John’s gospel maintains that Andrew was originally a disciple of John the Baptist - and with him also another person, presumably John. John’s gospel says that it was not really Jesus who chose and selected Andrew but rather Andrew offered himself - after hearing John the Baptist’s remark concerning Jesus. According to John, Andrew became the disciple of Jesus the DAY AFTER JOHN BAPTISED JESUS.
The first thing Andrew did after being accepted as a disciple of Jesus, says John, he looked for Peter and when he had found him he told him that he had found the Messiah. Then Andrew brought Peter to Jesus and he became a disciple of Jesus [John 1:35-42]. The day after Jesus found Philip and he became his disciple. Philip found Nathanael who also became one of the Twelve. All this took place in the next few days after his baptism. But according to the Synoptic Gospels, immediately after his baptism Jesus went to the wilderness in order to be tested by Satan. Only after his 40 day trial did he return to Galilee in power and only then did he choose Peter and Andrew and then James and John. John’s account therefore cannot be reconciled with the Synoptic story. In John 2 we are told how Jesus went to Jerusalem in the very beginning of his ministry and from the temple drove all those who were buying and selling. He set loose all the animals and birds which were intended for sacrificial ritual. This account directly contradicts the Synoptic record. In there this event is placed at the very end of Jesus’ ministry and this event triggered his sudden death. According to the Synoptic record this event could not have taken place for two reasons.
First, Jesus never went to Jerusalem during his entire ministry. And secondly, because they say that he cleansed the temple only several days before he was actually killed. The Synoptic Gospels portray Jesus observing the Passover on the FIRST DAY OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. The Gospel of John maintains that the Passover was actually the following day. The Jews did not want to enter Pilate’s judgement hall lest they be defiled and so not be able to eat the Passover - proving that the Passover was to be eaten that evening and not the previous evening - as the Synoptic Gospels report [John 18:28]. The Synoptic Gospels also report that on the night of his arrest, Jesus prayed to his Father to bypass death if at all possible. This prayer can nowhere be squeezed in the narrative of John. The Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus was crucified at “the third hour” - that is, nine in the morning. But John’s gospel says that it was “the sixth hour” when Jesus was still before Pilate [John 19:14].
This account cannot be reconciled with that of the Synoptic Gospels. Oh, there are some enthusiastic Christians who try to reconcile the problem by insisting that John used Raman computation of time while the Synoptists the Jewish. By Judaean computation the “third hour” would be nine in the morning - being the third hour from daybreak. John’s sixth hour, they argue, would be six in the morning - being the sixth hour from midnight. But this argument cannot hold water. Elsewhere in the Gospel of John we find irrefutable evidence that John did not use the Roman computation of time but rather the Judaean. In John 4:6 we are told that Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well in order to have a drink - since he was tired from his journey. His disciples have gone to town to buy some food. The Samaritan woman met Jesus “about the sixth hour” - that is, ABOUT NOON. Jesus could not have been before Pilate at SIX IN THE MORNING since Luke says that it wasn’t until DAYBREAK that the Jewish Council arranged the TRIAL OF JESUS. Only after the Jewish trial ended was he led to Pilate. John’s gospel clearly states that Jesus was before Pilate at NOON - as correctly translated by many modern Bible translators. It therefore flatly contradicts the Synoptic accounts - especially that of Mark. The Synoptic Gospels show that Jesus refused to drink wine that he was offered by the Roman soldiers. But Luke goes further than this. He points out that Jesus made a vow on the night of his arrest that he would never again taste of the wine until he drinks it anew in the Kingdom:
“For I tell you I WILL NOT drink again of the FRUIT OF THE WINE until the kingdom of God comes” [Luke 22:18].
But John clearly states that while being crucified Jesus actually DRANK WINE:
“Jesus knew that by now everything had been completed; and in order to make the scripture come true, he said, I am thirsty. A bowl was there, full of cheap wine; so a sponge was soaked in the wine, put on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted up to his lips. Jesus DRANK THE WINE and said, It is finished” [John 19:28-29].
The Synoptic Gospels say that the women took spices with them to the tomb on Sunday morning in order to anoint the body of Jesus. They did so since they did not have time to do so on the day of the crucifixion - since it was too late. But John flatly contradicts the Synoptic testimony. John’s gospel plainly says that Nicodemus brought one hundred pounds of spices and that they have anointed the body of Jesus - according to the Jewish funeral custom [John 19:39-40]. For this reason John has no women going to the tomb nor mention of any spices. He points out that only Mary Magdalene went to the tomb while it was still dark and found it empty. Everything else reported about the resurrection contradicts the Synoptic accounts. Luke’s Gospel points out that ALL ELEVEN were present on Sunday night when Jesus allegedly appeared to them in Jerusalem. The Markan added text also confirms this. But John maintains that Thomas was absent and that he later refused to believe that Jesus was alive. The Gospel of John also maintains that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and therefore gives her the pre-eminence above all other apostles. For this reason the same author in 2 John refers to the leader of the congregation as LADY.
Church Father Jerome - who lived and wrote in the 4th century - was aware of the Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew. This gospel was used in the early centuries by the believers commonly called Jewish Christians or Pristine Christians. St. Jerome wrote that this Hebrew Matthew was preserved in the library of Casaerea even in his own time. Please note what Church Father Jerome actually said concerning this gospel:
“Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and afortimes publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library of Caesarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of Syria, who use it” [The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 362].
Hegesepius was the first to testify concerning the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. He lived in the 2nd century. Church Father Epiphanius and Church historian Eusebius - both of the 4th century - also testified of the existence of the Hebrew Matthew. This Hebrew Matthew has since disappeared. We now only have some fragments of it preserved in the quotations of the Church Fathers. But enough has been preserved to demonstrate that this Hebrew Matthew was strikingly different from the present Greek Matthew - incorporated in the Christian New Testament. The earliest followers of Jesus who were known as Nazoreans and later by their derogatory name Ebionites rejected the four canonical gospels and they used the gospel of Matthew which was strikingly different from the canonical Matthew.