ABC:Matthew 26

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Verse 6[edit] claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[1]

Matthew 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

The anointing happens in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper. An unnamed woman anoints Jesus. Oil is placed on Jesus’ head.

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

The anointing takes place at the house of a Pharisee in Galilee. Oil is placed not on Jesus’ head, but on his feet.

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

It isn’t an unnamed woman sinner who anoints Jesus, but Mary who does the honors.

The Matthew and John passages relate the same incident involving Mary, as does Mark 14:3, but the Luke 7 passage is obviously not even the same incident. It doesn't even occur close to the same time! The incident with Mary occurs near the end of the Gospels right before the Passover/Crucifixion, whereas the Luke 7 incident is much earlier in Jesus' ministry. Whoever claimed this as a contradiction has a serious issue with telling time, and that's putting it nicely. These are obviously two different cases.

Maybe the critic was just additionally ignorant that anointing was not a rare occasion by any means in ancient Israel, but done constantly. It was done for daily cleanliness. (Matthew 6:17) It was done for burials. (Mark 14:8) It was done by the disciples and Jesus when healing the sick. (Mark 6:13, John 9:11) It was done for appointing kings (1 Chronicles 29:22, 2 Chronicles 23:11) and priests (Leviticus 4:5, Leviticus 8:12) so that God's leaders were actually termed God's "anointed." (1 Samuel 2:10, 1 Chronicles 16:22) It was done to purify vessels of the temple (Leviticus 8:10-11), altars (Numbers 7:84-88, and the garments of priests. (Exodus 29:29) In other words, if they just assumed these were the same incident because they thought anointing was a rare occasion, they made a big mistake in being completely ignorant of what Israel was like; anointing was a major part of Israelite practice in numerous facets of life.

And as for the critic claiming a contradiction because "It isn’t an unnamed woman sinner who anoints Jesus, but Mary who does the honors"? This would be like someone referring to you as "that person over there" and another referring to you by name, it's obviously not a contradiction to just refer to someone with a descriptor instead of a name. The logic in claiming that a contradiction is just ridiculous; it's obviously not a contradiction to just give more detail about someone. If one writer wants to refer to her as a woman and another by name, they certainly are not contradicting. This would be like referring to George Clooney as "an actor" and as "George Clooney", both statements are true and accurate, he is both an actor and George Clooney.

Verse 17, Day of Crucifixion[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[2]

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.[3] As for John 19:31, the confusion, as excellently pointed out by Jeff Miller of Apologetics Press, is caused by the Greek word translated "preparation" in John 19:31, paraskeue[4], 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[5]

Verse 38, Why Does Jesus Question?[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[2]

Jesus forgets the plot

At some point the three persons of the Trinity—Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—agreed that Jesus should live as a human on earth. Jesus was born as a divine being (except in Mark, where he becomes divine with his baptism) and lives out a life that ends with crucifixion. Just before that, he prayed with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. To the few disciples with him, he said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Then he prays, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup [he’s referring to the upcoming crucifixion] be taken from me.” He prays this three times. The story is the same in Mark, and in Luke, an angel strengthens Jesus.

Why did Jesus go off-script? He was part of the Trinity that decided this, so how could he be second-guessing the plan now?

We can look for a human comparison. It wouldn’t be surprising for an ordinary human to have second thoughts before a suicide mission, but in this story we’re talking about a god. Even if agony were a thing that he could perceive, why would an omniscient being question a plan that he knows is perfect?

Jesus was both the Son of God and man; that He was troubled by the coming torture He would endure should hardly be surprising. As seen from John 12:27-28, Jesus said, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name." Jesus, with His knowledge of what would come, could see what He would have to endure, and was "troubled" by it.

Even though Jesus was sinless, He was not considered perfect until after His sufferings, perhaps because only then had He shown that He could handle human frailty while remaining sinless in the face of temptation. As it is written in Hebrews 5:8-9, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." It is possible that His actions in doing so were a deliberate example for later Christians who, going through horrible trials, to see that when they are unable to cope, God will be there to strengthen them. Jesus' temptations and His responses to them were intended as an example for later Christians to emulate when going through similar trials, since "He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 6:20)

Whatever the case, there is no contradiction here, as evidenced by Patheos' own acknowledgement that "Even if agony were a thing that he could perceive, why would an omniscient being question a plan that he knows is perfect?" Quite simply, even if one is omniscient, that doesn't mean one wants to endure intense, physical-life-ending agony.

Verse 74[edit] calls as a contradiction, "How many times did the cock crow?"[6]

Mark 14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Mark 14:72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

Matthew 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

John 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, still thou hast denied me thrice.

John 18:27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

The simple answer is twice, but only once after Jesus said this. The rooster had already crowed once, and Jesus predicted Peter would deny him three times before it crowed a second time. Therefore Peter did so before it crowed once more, a second time. There's nothing contradictory about these passages in the slightest.


  1. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  3. Patterson, L. (2011, June). "List of Messianic Prophecies." Teaching Hearts.
  4. Thayer and Smith (2019). "Greek Lexicon Entry for Paraskeue." BibleStudyTools.
  5. Miller, J. (2014). "Does the Bible Contradict Itself Regarding the Day of the Crucifixion?" Apologetics Press.
  6. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from