Luke 23: 8-Answering Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

Herod’s examination of Jesus Christ is not recorded in other Gospels. Does that prove that the Gospels are contradicting each other?

Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.

"He sent him to Herod. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him: and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

C. ~ Now this is not to be found in the Gospel of St. Mathew, hence the witnesses (St. Mathew, St. Luke, etc.) disagree on this point, but all the witnesses ought to say the same thing (before their evidence can be trusted). Had Jesus been possessed of intelligence and miraculous power, how would have answered Herod (when he questioned him) and also shown him some miracles. This shows that Jesus was neither an enlightened man, nor was he possessed of any miraculous power.

Answer: There is no end to the folly of Maharishi. Most often, he exposes his own ignorance when he raises a question.

First let us look at the legal aspect. As per Maharishi, unless all the details are equally recorded in both the accounts, then it should be treated as a disagreement. However, having different details is not the same as differences in details. If the Apostle Matthew had written that LORD Jesus Christ was not sent to Herod though He was from Galilee and Luke wrote that LORD Jesus was sent to Herod as He was from Galilee, then there would have been a disagreement. In this case the level of details in both the accounts are different though there no differences in details.

Further, there is absolutely no contradiction between the narrations of the Gospels. The differences that critics enthusiastically produce to discredit the Holy Scripture on a closer scrutiny reinforces the credibility of the Gospel writers.

Let us examine what the legal luminaries have to say on this.

Simon Greenleaf, a legal luminary and author of two volumes of A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1844-46), one of the most classical works on the law of evidence, evaluated the Gospels on many accounts and wrote this about the consistency among many other laws of evidence:

“In the third place, as to their number and the consistency of their testimony. The character of their narratives is like that of all other true witnesses, containing, as Dr. Paley observes, substantial truth, under circumstantial variety. There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them; and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred. That they conspired to impose falsehood upon the world is, moreover, utterly inconsistent with the supposition that they were honest men; a fact, to the proofs of which we have already adverted. But if they were bad men, still the idea of any conspiracy among them is negatived, not only by the discrepancies alluded to, but by many other circumstances which will be mentioned hereafter; from all which, it is manifest that if they concerted a false story, they sought to its accomplishment by a mode quite the opposite to that which all others are found to pursue, to attain the same end. On this point the profound remark of an eminent writer is to our purpose; that "in a number of concurrent testimonies, where there has been no previous concert, there is a probability distinct from that which may be termed the sum of the probabilities resulting from the testimonies of the witnesses; a probability which would remain, even though the witnesses were of such a character as to merit no faith at all. This probability arises from the concurrence itself. That such a concurrence should spring from chance, is as one to infinite; that is, in other words, morally impossible. If therefore concert be excluded, there remains no cause but the reality of the fact.

The discrepancies between the narratives of the several evangelists, when carefully examined, will not be found sufficient to invalidate their testimony. Many seeming contradictions will prove, upon closer scrutiny, to be in substantial agreement; and it may be confidently asserted that there are none that will not yield, under fair and just criticism. If these different accounts of the same transactions were in strict verbal conformity with each other, the argument against their credibility would be much stronger. All that is asked for these witnesses is, that their testimony may be regarded as we regard the testimony of men in the ordinary affairs of life. This they are justly entitled to; and this no honorable adversary can refuse. We might, indeed, take higher ground than this, and confidently claim for them the serverest scrutiny; but our present purpose is merely to try their veracity by the ordinary tests of truth, admitted in human tribunals.

If the evidence of the evangelists is to rejected because of a few discrepancies among them, we shall be obliged to discard that of many of the contemporaneous histories on which we are accustomed to rely. Dr. Paley has noticed the contradiction between Lord Clarendon and Burnett and others in regard to Lord Strafford's execution; the former stating that he was condemned to be hanged, which was done on the same day; and the latter all relating that on a Saturday he was sentenced to the block, and was beheaded on the following Monday. Another striking instance of discrepancy has since occurred, in the narratives of the different members of the royal family of France, of their flight from Paris to Varennes, in 1792. These narratives, ten in number, and by eyewitnesses and personal actors in the transactions they relate, contradict each other, some on trivial and some on more essential points, but in every case in a wonderful and inexplicable manner. Yet these contradictions do not, in the general public estimation, detract from the integrity of the narrators, nor from the credibility of their relations. In the points in which they agree, and which constitute the great body of their narratives, their testimony is of course not doubted; where they differ, we reconcile them as well as we may; and where this cannot be done at all, we follow that light which seems to us the clearest. Upon the principles of the skeptic, we should be bound utterly to disbelieve them all. On the contrary, we apply to such cases the rules which, in daily experience, our judges instruct juries to apply, in weighing and reconciling the testimony of different witnesses; and which the courts themselves observe, in comparing and reconciling different and sometimes discordant reports of the same decisions. This remark applies especially to some alleged discrepancies in the reports which the several evangelists have been of the same discourses of our Lord.” (Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists,, underlining mine).

Sir Lionel Luckhoo, whom the Guinness Book of Records (1990) recorded as the world's "most successful lawyer for obtaining as a defence trial lawyer 245 successive murder acquittals wrote this about the Gospel narration of crucifixion: “Again, the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are there for the world to peruse.  All written as a matter of record.  The Chief Justice of New Zealand Sir Leslie Heron in an address which he gave puts it this way:  "Let any objective reader put side by side the four Gospels and add to them the account in Acts of the Apostles, and he will be struck, with one outstanding fact.  It is this, that while there may be a great variety of detail or form of expression or narration of or emphasis put on occurrences, underneath it all, the substance and weight of the narration are true"…."In the case of the trial of Jesus, the simplicity with which events of stupendous import are told arrests and holds the mind of any judge accustomed to evaluate evidence, making an indelible impression, and leaving an abiding sense of the realism and veritable fact of the most tragic incident in all human history."  So once again the answer to this question is:  YES, Jesus was placed on trial.  But what a trial!!!” (The Question Answered, Was Jesus placed on trial for His life?,, underlining mine, italics original).

Thus, Maharishi’s argument that St. Matthew omitted certain details which were recorded in St. Luke and therefore they ought to be rejected as untrustworthy, should be pitifully dismissed for the amount of ignorance Maharishi demonstrates.

Further, the argument that LORD Jesus Christ ought to have spoken is already answered in the question for Matthew 26:53. Let me remind only one of those points from the very Gospel of Luke.

Luke 23:14-15 said to them, "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined [Him] in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 

So, from the legal point of view, as the accusers were clearly and evidently false, there was no need for Him to defend Himself.

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