Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice XV : Crucifixion 7


In this segment, Dr. Badawi continues with his Bible trivia series concerning the apparent contradictions in the account of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Here, he examines the events prior to the crucifixion.

Host: Is there a question of consistency in the Gospels concerning the Last Supper?

Jamal Badawi: There are several

1. When did the Last Supper take place?

Mark 15:12 said that it took place of the Passover Day, Matthew and Luke agree. John said it took place before the Passover Day. According to Dennis Meinham there are problems with the story of sending two disciples to the city to prepare. John 13:1-2 it says before the Feast of Passover, this determines when Jesus was crucified. According to John, the Last Supper was before the Passover on Wednesday and Jesus died on Thursday and not Friday.

Jesus was crucified during the daytime before the Passover meal on Friday. The Bible tells us that Jesus died on the eve of the Passover, on the day that Passover meal would be eaten after sunset - Friday. "The Feast of Unleavened Bread" (or "Passover"), as the name suggests, is a meal which features bread that is made without yeast. The dietary regulations for the meal (eating nothing made with yeast) comes directly from the Old Testament (Exodus 12:1-20).

When we look at the text of the New Testament, we find that the Greek word for unleavened bread is 'azymos'. This is the word used in Luke 22.1, Mark, and in Matthew 26.17. The Greek word for regular bread (leavened with yeast) is 'artos'. All of the Gospel accounts, including Mark, agree that Jesus and His disciples ate artos (bread with yeast) at the last supper.. "While they were eating, Jesus took bread [artos], gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying Take it; this is my body." Mark 14:22. Therefore, this meal was not a Passover meal since it would be unthinkable for Jesus and His disciples to eat something that God had commanded them not to eat (bread with yeast - artos), instead of eating what they were commanded to eat (unleavened bread - azymos).

Another piece of evidence that proves that this meal was eaten on Thursday, the day before Passover, is. Luke 22:15-16: And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Jesus made the Last Supper a "virtual" Passover meal (but not an actual one).This was His last chance to share fellowship with his disciples before His death.

There is no contradiction. The Bible tells us that Jesus died before the Passover meal which was eaten on Friday after sundown.

2. Preparation

Mark sent two disciples to prepare. Matthew indicates that he sent all of the disciples. Luke said it was Peter and John. John makes no mention of this story.

Matthew did not say that all of the disciples went he said So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. (Matthew 26:19). Two disciples could easily fit into Matthew's account since he only mentions the plural and no precise number.

3. Arrival of Jesus

Only Mark says that Jesus came with the 12. According to Meinham, this is different than how a contemporary Jew would celebrate. In Mark 14:13 it says that Jesus sent 2 of his disciple to the town so how can all 12 arrive together?

How would a contemporary Jew (chiefly European) arrive and what relationship does this have with the Middle Eastern Jewish customs of 2000 years ago? Perhaps the two returned and they all went together or they all met on the way and proceeded together, hardly a contradiction!

4. How Judas was identified

Mark said that Jesus identified him using the present tense. Matthew said that Jesus used the past tense to accuse Judas. Luke said that Jesus did not talk about dipping. John said that Jesus gave the morsel to Judas.

Jesus knew Judas' intentions ahead of time, so there is no problem with the use of the past or present tenses.

5. When did Satan enter Judas?

Mark and Matthew said nothing about this. Luke 22:3-7 said that Satan entered Judas before the supper. John 13:27, Satan entered Judas after Jesus gave him the morsel.

Satan entered Judas on two occasions, there is no rule that I am aware of that says Satan can only enter a person once!

Host: How similar are the Gospels about the arrest of Jesus?

Jamal Badawi: Mark and Matthew have similar stories. Luke gave a emotional description. John said that between the time when Judas left and the soldiers came, Jesus gave a very long sermon in John 13-17, almost 20% of John's Gospel. This raises some questions. Mark and Matthew asked his disciple to sit while he prayed and they fell asleep. Luke said that an angel appeared to strengthen Jesus, why was Jesus worried? He predicted that he would die and the Gospels say this and as a Prophet he should display courage. Caird said that Jesus was more worried about the forces of darkness on his followers. Jesus must have been troubled because people will think that he was crucified when he was not, misleading people. Another thing about the sermon in John that John emphasizes what some call claims to divinity and de-emphasizes the suffering of Jesus except in John 15:21. How did the disciples sit to listen to this sermon when the other Gospels say that they were sleepy.

Once again, the Gospels were eyewitness accounts. Perhaps some were absent during one or another event, or perhaps the authors chose to emphasize different events more than others. In any case, the accounts do not contradict each other. Also, if Jesus was not to be killed, why did He tell His disciples that He was to die? Why would God perpetrate such a fraud on history?

6. How was Jesus arrested?

Mark, Matthew, and Luke say that he was kissed by Judas and seized. According to John, the soldiers came and Judas was standing with them and there is nothing about Judas kissing him. Mark says that Judas said master, Matthew said that Judas said hail master and Jesus asked him if he was going to betray him and Luke does not say if he actually kissed him. Why did the soldiers fall back? Did they see the angel coming to take Jesus?

Once again, the description depends on what the authors saw or did not see. If there were angels present why did NONE of the writers record this? None of the Gospels contradict the

7. What about the sword?

Mark 14 there is no response from Jesus. Matthew 26 said all who take the sword will perish from the sword. In Luke 22 he said no more of this. John 18, Jesus said put your sword back

Yet again, the descriptions given by the authors of the Gospels depended on which events they witnessed. One could here the entire statement made by Jesus, telling Peter to put away his sword because those who live by the sword perish by the sword. Another witness may have only heard Jesus telling Peter to put his sword away and, obviously, if someone did not hear any of this, they most likely would have been silent concerning the entire issue.

8. Where was Jesus taken after his arrest?

According to the synoptic Gospels, he was taken to the house of Caiaphas. According to John, he was taken to the house of the Father in law of the High Priest. One can only conclude that these accounts are inconsistent.

No, They are perfectly consistent. John tells us that after being questioned by Annas : Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18:24). There is no contradiction here, John simply records more information than the other writers.

Host: What happened after the arrest?

Jamal Badawi: The trial.

9. The time of the trial.

Mark and Matthew say at night. Luke is different and says that it took place during the day, the trial before the High Priests. Meinham says that the historical value of Mark 14:53-65, is doubtful because the Sanhedran had 71 members who did not meet that easily for such a trial. Even if we assume that all of the formal procedures took place, it is unlikely for such a body to meet this close to Passover. If the elders were trying to get a false witness, they needed more time to get the story straight. Leviticus 24:15-16, the accusations against Jesus deserve stoning according to the Jewish Law, why didn't the Jews kill him?

The High Priests questioned Jesus in the early hour of the morning. The difference in the accounts in this case is that Mark and Matthew first discuss the trial of Jesus and then mention the denial of Peter, and the cock crowing. On the other hand, Luke first describes the denial of Peter and then proceeds to discuss the trial. In any case, no author said that this occurred at night. Second, the Bible does not say that the entire Sanhedrin met at any point during this process.

10. Peter.

Mark 15:66-71 said that Peter was seen by a maid and then two bystanders. Matthew said that he was seen by two maids and one bystander. Luke said that he was seen by one maid and two men. John said that he was seen by a maid and then servants.

11. Where was Peter asked?

Mark said that he was asked in the courtyard and twice in the gateway, Matthew said once in the courtyard and once on the porch. Luke is similar, once in the gateway and twice in the courtyard.

Jesus told Peter that he would dent Him three times before the cock crowed. Actually, Peter denied the Lord SIX TIMES!

While Jesus was being questioned by Annas, Peter was accused by a doorkeeper as he entered the courtyard from the street. Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Jesus taken to Caiphas, and a young girl who worked for the High Priest accused Peter of being one of Jesus's followers while he was warming himself by the fire in the courtyard. Peter denied Jesus before everyone.

Same place and time are the same as denial 2, but Peter was accused by a man of being a follower of Jesus and he denied once again that he knew Jesus.

Cock crowing First Time (Mark 14:68)

Denial 4 (Matthew 26:71-72 and Mark 14:69-70) Jesus continued to be examined by Caiphas, and Peter was accused by a girl, possibly a doorkeeper, at the door to the courtyard, and he denied Jesus.

Jesus was still being questioned by Caiphas and Peter returned inside the courtyard and was standing near the fire when he was accused of being a disciple of Jesus by several people who heard his Galilean accent. Peter to cursed and denied Jesus once again.

Immediately after denial 5, another one followed. Peter was accused by a servant of the High Priest, who was present when Jesus was arrested.

Cock crowing Second Time -- Matthew 26:74, Mark 14:72, Luke 22:60, and John 18:27 In the middle of Peter's denial!

Host: What other problems are there with the trial?

Jamal Badawi: Mark 15 says that the masses demanded the freedom of Barabas and Pilate's opinion of the innocence of Jesus raises some interesting problems.

How could a governor agree to his execution to satisfy the masses?

The idea of freeing a prisoner is very strange and it is not consistent with the Romans. Barabas was accused on conspiracy. Matthew 27 says that Pilate's washing of hands is a Jewish custom, not a Roman custom. Only Luke mentions the trial of Jesus before Herod and there could not be two trials in such a short period.

Pontius Pilate had a very difficult time ruling the Jews. It is highly likely the Pilate wanted to maintain the peace and really did not care about the fate of Jesus, or Barabas. Pilate's career was definitely on the line and relatively speaking, his 10 tenure as Procurator was impressive considering the politics of the time. The Roman government usually allowed a leader to make three mistakes before he lost his job, and often his life. Mistake number one for Pontius Pilate occurred when he attempted to force a crowd of Jews, gathered in an arena, to worship a statue of Caesar Tiberius. The Jews refused and Pilate threatened to kill them and the Jews refused once again. Pilate ordered his troops to attack the crowd and many unarmed people died. Generally speaking, the leaders in Rome wanted peace in their Empire and Pilate certainly was not helping matters in what was probably the most restive region - Judea. Mistake number two occurred when Pilate sent spies into a crowd in Jerusalem in order to create chaos and many died as a result. Rome was not happy to here about these problems and Pilate came to Jerusalem during the Passover season. He feared a rebellion and gladly gave into the mob - he could not afford mistake number three.

Andrew Vargo

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