Are the Gospels fabricated?
How can we know that the writers of the Gospels didn’t exaggerate and make things up about Jesus Christ?
Was the Jesus myth exaggerated or were the writers of the Gospels eyewitnesses?
Thousands of people had heard Jesus′ teaching, and had seen the miracles.
If these things hadn’t have been true, the whole of the Christian teaching would have gone down like a lead balloon.
Winston Churchill miraculous turned his Spam sandwich into a banquet and fed 5000 people!!!!
Imagine someone writing a book in 1970 about Winston Churchill’s time in the Second World War.
He was still well known in 1970, and there were a lot of witnesses who had seen and heard him back in the 1940’s.
But if this book claimed that Winston Churchill had performed signs and miracles, it would have had no weight, no credibility and no-one would have taken any notice of it.
The things that were written in the Gospels were too well known to create Jesus myth.
Three of the Gospel writers did write 10 to 40 years after Jesus′ death. (John, a disciple of Jesus, wrote his Gospel later than that).
If it was made up, or exaggerated, then people would have known that it wasn’t the truth.
But it was the truth, people knew that, and they were willing to die for that Truth.
Even Jesus′ enemies couldn’t deny His miracles.
His enemies never said; “That was a hoax!” “Agh! You just conned those people!”
No, they couldn’t deny what they had just seen, so they said:
It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”Matthew 9:34
Or on another occasion His enemies couldn’t deny the things that Jesus was doing said:
By what authority are you doing these things?Matthew 21:23
And who gave you authority to do this?”
I will ask you one question.Mark 11:27-33
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
John′s baptism, was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!’
They discussed it among themselves and said, ‘If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men…’ (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
So they answered Jesus, ‘We don′t know.’
Jesus said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’”
What a good answer!
Eyewitnesses who saw Jesus
There were many people who saw Jesus alive after his crucifixion according to the Apostle Paul:
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve.1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (* = means dead. ** = the Apostle Paul)
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep *.
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles and last of all he appeared to me ** also, as to one abnormally born.”
More than 500 people!
The authorities wanted the memory to stop
The religious leaders were ready to stamp out any stories about Jesus because of jealousy and fear of reprisals from the Roman authorities.
They were aware that there was a rumour that Jesus was going to come back from the dead.
So they were determined to not let that happen – hence they wanted guards to be stationed at Jesus’ grave!
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.Matthew 27:62-66
“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’
So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.
Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead.
This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”
So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
Okay naturally speaking there was no way that Jesus could come back to life.
If his followers were going to roll back the stone and say that he had risen from the dead then the guards would stop that!
But even if they had managed to get Jesus’ dead body, would they under persecution willingly give up their lives to say that Jesus had risen from the dead (when they knew they had fabricated it!)
But it didn’t happen that way, God had other ideas:
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.Matthew 28:14
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men…”
The guards and religious leaders were powerless to stop this happening.
Some of them would carry on stubbornly refusing to accept this, while others believed that Jesus had risen from the dead.
So what has been written in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament is reliable, and trustworthy, (as is the whole of the Bible). The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy saying:
…from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17
See the 3rd article in this series: Historical documents how reliable are they?
For an article on the Pharisees see Britannica (opens in a new window)
[i] Photo credit: New York Public Library Digital Collections (opens in a new window)