Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Contradictions In The Bible 4 :
What did the centurion really say as he watched Jesus die (Matt. 27:54;
Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47)?
Matthew 27:54 quotes the centurion and the soldiers who were standing guard at the
cross of Christ, in the midst of the terrifying darkness, wind, earthquake, and storm that
took place at the moment He expired, as remarking, "Truly [alethos] this man was a son [or possibly `the Son'] of God!" The wording in Mark 15:39 is virtually the same (with only the word for "man" [anthropos] included in the Greek, though it was already
inferred by the masculine singular demonstrative houtos ["this"]). In Luke 23:47,
however, the centurion is quoted as saying, "Truly [ontos] this man was righteous."
Are we presented with an irreconcilable contradiction here? Certainly not! Those who
express admiration of the performance of some actor, musician, or orator on the stage
usually employ more than one laudatory epithet in order to describe their feelings about
him--even if they do not resort to the standard promotional hyperbole: "That was terrific!
Stupendous! Colossal! Magnificent!" There is no reason whatever to suppose that the
military bystander limited his expressed sentiments to one terse sentence. He must at least have said, "This was truly a righteous man. This was surely a son of God!" Luke found "righteous man" particularly striking because the words were voiced by the chief executioner of one who had been condemned to death by Hebrew and Roman justice as a blasphemer and a rebel against the authority of Caesar. Matthew and Mark were more impressed by his later expression regarding the divine dimension he had perceived in the expiring Sufferer.
Gleason L Archer