The Changing Faces of Jesus

Which Jesus do you believe in?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Reading the four gospels with a careful eye to detail will reveal to the discerning reader four blatantly different pictures of the “Lord” that, without disingenuous convoluted harmonising tactics of the fundamentalist, underscores the message of Islam that the Christians had hijacked the real Jesus and made him into their own image. Let us sample an example of how Jesus’ image was contrived in the canonical gospels below by ancient, nameless, Christian propagandists.

Did Jesus heal ‘many’ or ‘all’ of them? You decide!

“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door,The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” (Mark 1:32-34)

In the Markan version of the incident above, which happens to be the oldest, the sick and the ailing were all brought to Jesus and though many (verse 34) were miraculously healed by Jesus’ touch, not every person was lucky enough to be given that gift. This fact is revealed by Mark’s use of “all” and “many”. According to Mark, although all the sick were brought to Jesus, only ‘many’ of them were healed.

 

Using Mark as a source, Matthew revamps the story and creates a greater Jesus in his version of the same event.

“When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” (Matthew 8:16)

The Markan Jesus healed “many” of all the sick that were brought to him and though the average reader may find that amazing, it didn’t sit too well with Matthew as he was writing his own gospel, while cribbing Mark as a source. The Matthean Jesus has him heal literally every sick person that was presented to him. Matthew’s Jesus is clearly a more developed person with greater power. Noting this point, Professor in the Religion department at Carleton University, Dr. Zeba Crook in a debate with Richard Carrier says:

“Here is a summary story in which Mark is summarising all the great things that Jesus has been doing. And Mark tells us that they brought him all who were sick and he healed many. That’s pretty subtle but still, Matthew has a problem with it and he switches the quantities. Very simple, but it clearly has the same effect. Matthew’s Jesus is bigger, better and stronger than Mark’s Jesus” [1]

Which Jesus is your Jesus?

Notes:

[Atheism TV]. (2014, May 10). Jesus of Nazareth: Man or myth? A discussion with Zeba Crook and Richard Carrier. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgmHqjblsPw

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