ABC:John 19

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Verse 14[edit]

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[edit]

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 26, Why a Home for Mary?[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[4]

Jesus finds a new home for Mary. But why?

While on the cross, Jesus was concerned about his mother and made provisions for her to be taken care of after he was gone.

John 19:26-27

That’s a nice gesture, but why was it necessary? Mary had other sons. Tradition holds that James, the leader of the church and supposed author of the epistle of James, was the brother of Jesus. And then we have this:

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Mary did have other sons. But at least two of them were Jesus' disciples, James and Judas (not Iscariot). (cp. Luke 6:13-16; Galatians 1:19; and Jude 1:1) And many of Jesus' disciples had lost their homes and lands for following Jesus. (Mark 10:28-30) So at least two of Mary's children were likely homeless. It's possible that John was a rare apostle who still had a home, whereas Mary's other children did not. Whatever the case, there is reason to conclude that at least half of Mary's other sons were homeless due to following Jesus; and as such it would be presumptuous to assume a contradiction where none is required by the text.

Verse 30[edit]

Jim Meritt of Infidels.org calls a contradiction "Jesus' last words".[5] TheThinkingAtheist.com also claims a contradiction exists here in the section "What Were Jesus’ Last Words on the Cross?"[1] RationalWiki also claims there is a Bible contradiction here.[6]

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.[7]

Verse 31, Day of Crucifixion[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[4]

What day was Jesus crucified on?

The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) say that the Last Supper was the Passover meal and that Jesus was crucified after the Passover meal.

Matthew 26:17 ¶ Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

Three verses later, Jesus is at the Passover meal, the Last Supper. But in John, the order is reversed: it’s the crucifixion and then the Passover meal.

John 19:31 ¶ The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

A “historical account,” as the gospels are claimed by some to be, should get the order of important events correct, and the Passover meal and the crucifixion are both important events.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday morning, the 14th of Nisan according to the Jewish calendar. For an excellent summary of the timeline involved, scroll down to the sections "Jesus Fulfills All Time Requirements" and "Three Days and Nights in the Bowels Confusion" by Laverna Patterson of Teaching Hearts.[8] As for John 19:31, the confusion, as excellently pointed out by Jeff Miller of Apologetics Press, is caused by the Hebrew word translated "preparation" in John 19:31, paraskeue[9], which should have been translated as Friday. To quote Miller,

"Biblical scholar Gleason Archer notes that the word translated 'Preparation' (paraskeuē) was the actual word for Friday in the first century. '[T]he word paraskeuē had already by the first century A.D. become a technical term for ‘Friday,’ since every Friday was the day of preparation for Saturday, that is, the Sabbath. In Modern Greek the word for ‘Friday’ is paraskeuē…. [T]hat which might be translated literally as ‘the preparation of the Passover’ must in this context be rendered ‘Friday of Passover Week’' (1982, p. 375).Robertson agreed, explaining that 'the term ‘Preparation’ has long been the regular name for Friday in the Greek language, caused by the New Testament usage. It is so in the Modern Greek to-day' (p. 282). Indeed, the NIV rendering of John 19:14 helps to clear the confusion by rendering the sentence, 'It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.' John simply does not contradict the synoptic Gospels regarding Jesus’ crucifixion day."
-Jeff Miller, Apologetics Press[10]

Sources[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
  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. 4.0 4.1 Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  5. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  6. RationalWiki Editors (2019). "Biblical Contradictions." RationalWiki.
  7. 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.
  8. Patterson, L. (2011, June). "List of Messianic Prophecies." Teaching Hearts.
  9. Thayer and Smith (2019). "Greek Lexicon Entry for Paraskeue." BibleStudyTools.
  10. Miller, J. (2014). "Does the Bible Contradict Itself Regarding the Day of the Crucifixion?" Apologetics Press.