Why do some people want there to be contradictions in the bible? Because they need an excuse. An excuse to dismiss the bible... and dismiss Jesus. But they won't go away. Why? Because the bible is true and Jesus is THE truth, the way, and the source of life. If you are someone who wants for there to be contradictions in the bible, I beg you to turn to truth. Your conscience tells you that you've done wrong. You know you have disobeyed God and you are on the path to the eternal lake of fire. Jesus can take you off that path. Trust Jesus to save you.
Matthew and Luke Contradict Each Other?
What really happened after Jesus' birth?
HUMANIST ACCUSATION: The story of Jesus birth is also contradictory. Matthew 2:13-15 depicts Joseph and Mary as fleeing to Egypt with the baby Jesus immediately after the wise men from the east had brought gifts.
But Luke 2:22-40 claims that after the birth of Jesus, his parents remained in Bethlehem for the time of Marys purification (which was 40 days, under the Mosaic law). Afterwards, they brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, and then returned to their home in Nazareth. Luke mentions no journey into Egypt or visit by wise men from the east.
The above makes the assumption that Matthew and Luke were both writing a complete, day-by-day account of what happened to Jesus as an infant. But, that is a false assumption with no basis in the text nor in history. Each writer had a specific audience they were writing to, and a specific purpose in writing. So, as any reasonable writer who wanted to effectively communicate would do, they only included the information that was relevant to their message.
Matthew was writing to Jews... people who knew the history of Israel as well as the Old Testament. For example, Jews would be familiar with the Messianic prophesy in Hosea 1:11 that says: When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
In addition, coming out of Egypt was significant for Jews (the Exodus). It brought to mind that God saved them from slavery by bringing them out of Egypt. And that is what the Messiah... Jesus Christ, would do. Bring those who believe in Him out of slavery to sin. So that Jesus came out of Egypt was a very important fact for Matthew's Jewish readers.
On the other hand Luke was writing to Gentiles who do not know the history of Israel, nor are they familiar with Biblical prophecy. So the fact that Jesus came out of Egypt is meaningless to a Gentile. The overall theme of the first few chapters in Luke is that of presenting witnesses, as though this was a court case, proving that Jesus was who He claimed to be -- God and the Messiah who had come to save sinners. So, Luke wants to show that Jesus fully complied with all of the law. Luke even points out that Jesus' parents were complying with the Mosaic law, specifically mentioning the Mosaic law, something he would not need to do if he were writing to Jews:
And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. - Luke 2:22
The actual timeline is:
- Jesus' birth
- Mary's purification
- Jesus presented to the Lord in the temple
- Jesus' family stays in Bethlehem for about two years
- The Magi arrive in Jerusalem where they tell Herod why they came, and then they go to Bethlehem
- An angel warns Joseph to flee to Egypt
- Herod has all infants in Bethlehem, two years old and younger, killed
- Herod dies, and it is safe to return to Israel. Jesus' family travels from Egypt to Nazareth.
What did we find out here? There is no contradiction.
Concerning the death of Judas, the disloyal disciple, Matthew 27:5 states he took the money he had received for betraying Jesus, threw it down in the temple, and went and hanged himself. To the contrary, Acts 1:18 claims Judas used the money to purchase a field and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Of course, there is no contradiction here. Tap here to find out why...