I do have a question about Jesus.
I hear skeptics sometimes say that the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus as the messiah were just added in later, they wrote the gospel of Matthew many decades after Jesus died and had plenty of time to build in supposed fulfilled prophecies like the betrayal of Judas for 30 pieces of silver, or that Jesus did ride on a donkey into Jerusalem etc.
Could it be possible that they added these descriptions in later to *make* Jesus look like he was the messiah? Could it be possible the new testament writers checked the old testament and the prophecies and added them into the new so that Jesus did fit the description of *messiah*?
After all, if we take the example with the 30 pieces of silver, it could be easy to smuggle this into the text and say it happened. I do talk especially about smaller details, not big prophecies that everybody could verify, not more obvious ones like the prophecy that he would be buried with the rich, this is something easy to verify, as everyone could go see where his tomb was, but how could we know these smaller detailed prophecies really happened and were not added in later to make Jesus fit as the messiah?
I hope you can help me, it’s one of the last things I struggle with regarding objections to Jesus . Thanks a lot!
There are at least two ways that I would want to respond to this sort of a critique.
First, I would ask for some positive reason to think that it is true. Why should we think that the early church fabricated the stories and added them in after the fact? Is there any positive reason to think that this claim is true? If there is no justification for the claim, then there is no reason to take it as a serious objections. One can play, “What if…” games all day long. Without some reason to think that this version of events is more probably true than not, we just don’t have any reason to take the claim seriously.
Second, it relies on an inaccurate dating of the New Testament. In 70 A.D. a major event occurred for Israel, namely its destruction. Theologically this event would dramatically bolster the case of early Christianity. Remember that Christians claim that Jesus has fulfilled the Old Covenant and introduced his own New Covenant. Temple worship was not a part of the new movement. How much easier is that case to make if one can point out, “Oh and by the way, one can know that God has turned away from the temple because he allowed it to be destroyed.” So why doesn’t Luke include that event in the book of Acts? It seems reasonable to believe that it wasn’t included because it hadn’t happened yet. This allows us to place the book of Acts before 70 A.D. Acts is the second volume that Luke wrote, after having written the gospel of Luke. Since Luke is believed to be written after Matthew and Mark, this allows us to place Matthew and Mark even closer to the events themselves. Consider the significance of this. The gospel stories, including their record of Jesus’s fulfilled prophecies, were propagated during the lives of the eye witnesses to these events. It seems unreasonable to think that such a movement, based on fabricated events, could survive and grow in the face of the eye witnesses who would have spotted such fabrications.
More importantly than Jesus’s fulfilled prophecies, however, is Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. I’ve linked a couple of short videos below that run through the evidence for Jesus’s resurrection. If Jesus was raised from the dead, then we know that Christianity is true and that Jesus is the proper object of our faith.