"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother,
and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
-- Matthew 10:35-36
Matthew for Skeptics
The New Testament gets off to a slow start with the gospel of Matthew, whose first words are: "The book of the generation of
Jesus Christ." It then lists 39 straight begats, such as "And Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab." Believers
must be bored silly by chapter one, but skeptics shouldn't be, because the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew
1 directly and completely
contradicts the one given in Luke 3. The two don't agree on anything, not even the name of Joseph's father.
But then Matthew is a very contentious book. If you have an opinion about
anything, Mathew is likely to disagree with you. The SAB lists 146 contradictions in Matthew, more than any
other book of the Bible.
There's more than just contradictions in Matthew, though. In it you'll also find that:
- Jesus strongly approved of the law and the prophets. He had no objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament and
said that its laws will be binding forever.
- To avoid sin, Jesus told his followers to cut off their hands and pluck
out their eyes. This advice was given immediately after he said that anyone who
looks with lust at a women commits adultery. 5:29, 18:8
- Jesus told his disciples not to pray in public. 6:5-6
- He said that most people are going to hell. 7:13-14
- He sent some devils into a herd of pigs, causing them to run off
a cliff and drown in the waters below. 8:32
- Families will be torn apart because of Jesus (this is one of the few "prophecies" in the Bible that has
actually come true). "Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall
rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." 10:21
- Jesus came to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He
to send peace, but a sword." 10:34-37
- He condemned entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn't care for
his preaching. 11:20-24
- He spoke in parables so that no one would understand him, "lest ... they ...
should understand ... and should be converted, and I should heal them." 13:10-15
- "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him
shall be taken away even that he hath." Isn't this from the Republican Party platform?
- Jesus was rejected by those who knew him best -- the people of his home town of Nazareth.
- Herod thought Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist. Apparently, it was a common opinion at the time. 14:2, 16:13-14
- Jesus told his followers that he would return and establish his kingdom within their lifetime.
16:28, 23:36, 24:34
- Abandon your wife and children for Jesus and he'll give your a big reward. 19:29
- Matthew's Jesus rode into Jerusalem sitting on both an ass
and a colt (must have taken some practice!). 21:2-7
- "His blood be on us, and on our children." This verse blames the Jews for the death of Jesus and has been used
to justify their persecution for twenty centuries. 27:25
- Christian Response
Introduction to Matthew