ABC:John 19

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Verse 14

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments in the section, "Where was Jesus on the sixth hour of the crucifixion?":[1]

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
33 ¶ And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Christ was already on the cross at 9am.

John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

It was 9am as Jesus was being judged at Pilate’s palace.

The confusion here occurs because of the phrase "they that were crucified." The crucifixion proceedings began back on the 3rd hour (Mark 15:25) but the crucifixion itself did not begin until after the 6th hour. Confusion occurs because it simply says "crucified" to refer to the crucifixion proceedings/trial, including the scourging and mockery of Mark 15:15-21. The actual crucifixion itself coincided with the darkness over the land lasting from the 6th to 9th hours, beginning with the start of the crucifixion and ending with Jesus' death on the cross. For an exact timeline, see the note for Matthew 12:40.

Verse 16

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments in the section, "Who Carried Jesus’ Cross?"[1]

Mark 15:20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 ¶ And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.
24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.

Simon of Cyrene carried the cross

John 19:16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

Jesus carried the cross.

They both carried it. The "ThinkingAtheist" sneakily omits mentioning the corresponding Matthew 27 verses which show that Simon did not start out carrying the cross. First Jesus was led away to be crucified, and Simon was pressed into service to bear the cross, presumably after Jesus, who had been scourged, beaten, and tortured, was unable from fatigue to carry the cross the entire way.[2]

Matthew 27:31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

As further observed by Ty Benbow of Answers in Genesis:

"So then, why does John not offer the same details as Matthew? A possible consideration takes into account the impact Passover would have had on Jerusalem. The population of the city would have swelled to a number higher than any normal week. Thus, it would have been virtually impossible for John or Matthew to follow Jesus every step of the way from conviction to crucifixion. John likely recorded Jesus carrying the crossbeam through the city streets, where he was able to see Jesus. Likewise, Matthew likely recorded Roman officials ordering Simon the Cyrene to carry the crossbeam from outside the gates to Golgotha from his vantage point. Both observations are accurate, and both add a rich depth and power of the final hours of Jesus."[3]

Verse 30

Jim Meritt of Infidels.org calls a contradiction "Jesus' last words".[4] TheThinkingAtheist.com also claims a contradiction exists here in the section "What Were Jesus’ Last Words on the Cross?"[1]

Matthew 27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

Luke 23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

John 19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

None of the passages say what were Jesus' last words, the phrase "Jesus' last words" is an expression originated by Meritt, not the Bible. The passages all actually complement one another, since neither Matthew 27 or Luke 23 say what it was that Jesus cried. So presumably the cry of Jesus not specified in those passages included "It is finished" in Luke 23:46 and both "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit" and "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" in Matthew 27.

As seen from the chronology of the passages, Jesus' first cry was "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) He then cried out again with a loud voice (Matthew 27:50), a cry that apparently included "It is finished" John 19:30 and then "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit". (Luke 23:46) Since John 19:30 does not specify a loud cry, this statement presumably is the last of the three.

For a more detailed explanation of what Jesus said during the Crucifixion, see the Scofield Study Bible III's note for Matthew 27:33.[5]

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "thinkatheist" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Did Jesus or Simon of Cyrene carry the cross? Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
  3. Benbow, Ty (2013, July 30). Who Really Carried the Cross of Jesus? Answers in Genesis.
  4. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  5. Scofield, C.I. (2006). The Scofield Study Bible III. p. 1307. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=fpu-Pl7W_UIC&pg=PA1307.