THE CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF
IN THE GOSPELS
Present-day Christians believe in the Holy Book known as
the New Testament. Many sections of this book call people
to believe in and worship God in a most sincere manner and
recommend excellent moral principles. In that respect, much
of the New Testament is compatible with the Qur'an. Therefore
Muslims and Christians have a great many beliefs in common
and believe in the same moral values. This is an important
truth which represents the groundwork for the establishment
of dialogue and cooperation between the two faiths.
However, God also reveals in the Qur'an that two fundamental
teachings in the New Testament are erroneous.
The first of these is the belief that Jesus was crucified
and was a kind of "sacrifice" for all mankind.
The second is the claim that Jesus is the "son of God." (God
is surely beyond that. Far exalted is He above having a son.)
One interesting point is that the statements in the gospels
regarding these two beliefs are actually contradictory.
The Four Gospels
The New Testament contains four separate "gospels" which
describe the life and ministry of Jesus. The first three of
these, the gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke are
to a large extent parallel to one another. They are thus described
as the "synoptic" gospels in the Christian tradition. (The
word "synoptic" means "taking the same point of view, and
describes the perspectives of the first three gospels.) Despite
being the second gospel in the Old Testament, the earliest
is the gospel according to Saint Mark. It is accepted that
Matthew and Luke used the gospel according to Saint Mark as
a source when writing their own gospels, making a few additions
The fourth gospel is that of John, and this is very different
to the line taken by the synoptic gospels. Some events described
by John do not appear in the synoptic gospels, or are described
in a contrary sense. Moreover, one event described by John
is described totally differently from the way it appears in
the synoptic gospels.
The Contradictory Descriptions of
As we have already stated, it is revealed in the Qur'an that
the person who was crucified was not Jesus but, by a miracle
of God, someone resembling him was crucified and Jesus escaped
The gospels of the New Testament insist that it was Jesus
who was crucified. However, their accounts of the crucifixion
conflict with one another to an extent far greater than in
any other subject.
There are enormous discrepancies on this subject, both among
the synoptic gospels and that of John. The account which begins
with the Last Supper of Jesus and the disciples and continues
with his arrest and trial is the subject of considerable contradiction
among the gospels. Let us now examine the major points of
o The synoptic gospels maintain that there was a "ceremony
of bread and wine" at the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples.
Yet John never mentions this. Instead, he makes an entirely
different claim that the disciples washed his feet as an expression
of love and respect.
o There is a similar discrepancy with regard to Jesus' arrest
by the Romans. According to the claim in the synoptic gospels,
Judas Iscariot gave Jesus up by indicating him to the Romans.
According to John, Jesus gave himself up. The replies given
to Judas by Jesus are also described contradictorily: According
to Matthew, he said to Judas, "Friend, do what you came for,"
whereas according to John there was no dialogue between the
o There is also disagreement with regard to what the disciples
did after Jesus' arrest. According to Matthew, the disciples
all fled, with only Peter watching Jesus from afar. Mark describes
the odd detail of how only "a young man, wearing nothing but
a linen garment" watched Jesus, and how he was caught but
freed himself from the garment and escaped. Like Matthew,
Luke writes that only Peter watched Jesus. John, on the other
hand, writes that Simon Peter and another disciple were following
o The answers to the question of who judged Jesus are also
different. The synoptic gospels describe how he was tried
by the Jewish Supreme Court (the Sanhedrin). According to
John, Jesus was tried not by the Sanhedrin, but by Caiaphas,
the high priest that time, and his father-in-law Annas.
o Jesus' trial by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, is
also described very differently. According to the synoptic
gospels, Jesus made no reply to the accusations made against
him by Pilate, merely saying "Yes, it is as you say," when
asked if he was the king of the Jews. John, on the other hand,
says that Jesus made a long reply to Pilate, in a detailed
statement saying, "My kingdom is not of this world… But now
my kingdom is from another place."
o Who carried the cross is also unclear. The synoptic gospels
write that a man named Simon of Cyrene carried it, whereas
John maintains that Jesus carried it himself.
o The robbers who were crucified alongside Jesus are also
described differently, as are Jesus' last words.
o The gospels also describe the timing of the crucifixion
differently. According to the synoptic gospels, it was on
the second day of Passover. According to John, it was one
day before the Passover.
It is clear that these discrepancies reveal an interesting
That is because these events, which comprise the last day
in the life of Jesus, from the Last Supper to the crucifixion,
took place, according to the Christian tradition, before hundreds
of witnesses. With the exception of the Last Supper, attended
only by the disciples, they must all have taken place before
large crowds. According to the gospels, the arrest of Jesus
took place before hundreds of Romans and Jews. Again according
to the gospels, the crucifixion happened in Jerusalem, before
the eyes of the populace.
So why is it that there are such discrepancies between the
accounts of these events that happened in front of so many
The answer is clear: The reason for these discrepancies in
the accounts of the crucifixion is that the story is based
on an error. It was not Jesus who was crucified. God saved
this blessed prophet from the trap laid for him.
Jesus Did Not Die, but Is in the
Presence of God
The Qur'an reveals that the unbelievers devised a plot to
take Jesus' life. However, they have failed, for the Qur'an
They [unbelievers] planned and God planned.
But God is the best of planners. (Qur'an, 3:54)
As the verses reveal, they plotted and moved to kill Jesus.
However, their plot failed and they ended up killing a look-alike.
During this event, God raised Jesus up to His presence:
And [on account of] their saying, "We killed
the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Messenger of God." They did
not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made
to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt
about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture.
But they certainly did not kill him. (Qur'an, 4:157)
The subsequent verse says the following about Jesus' ascension:
God raised him up to Himself. God is Almighty,
All-Wise. (Qur'an, 4:158)
The reality revealed in the verse is clear. Those who attempted
to kill Jesus did not succeed. The expression "but
it was made to seem so to them" reveals this fact.
God showed them a look-alike and raised Jesus up to His presence.
Our Lord also reveals that those who made that claim had no
knowledge of the truth.
Jesus was not killed.
The truth, clearly indicated in the Qur'an and
the hadiths (sayings) of our Prophet (may God bless him and
grant him peace), is that Jesus is still alive and will return
to Earth in the End Times.
JESUS WILL RETURN TO EARTH