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Questions Your Pastor Will Hate Part 5

Message Dennis Diehl

 Ok Pastor, just a few more and then wrap it up. You've been really helpful just sitting there staring at me.

Did you know that Matthew copies 91% of Mark and Luke copies 53% of Mark?  Is that a kind of inspiration I'm not familiar with?   Anyway....

Question. Pastor…Where does John come up with all the detailed dialogue in chapters 14-17 when no other Gospel begins to mention any of that? This had to be done by memory right? No one could get that kind of detail right if they just wrote from memory, especially since in just a few more minutes, everyone would be fleeing for their lives and leaving Jesus on his own. It does say, “they all fled.” I just think it’s odd that the Gospel said to have been written very late and last, has the most detail, where Mark, written first, has little or none of this dialogue. Or is this a case of writing what the author would imagine Jesus to have said in such circumstances, which I understand was a writing style of the day?

Question. Pastor…Mark 16:8 tells us that the women left the tomb afraid and didn’t say anything to anyone and then the original Gospel of Mark ends. Where is the ending? Also, Matthew 28:6-8 says the women ran away with “great joy,” which sounds to me like Matthew felt a need to correct Mark. Luke 24: 9-12 says they went and told the disciples, contradicting Mark and John 20:1-2 says Mary told the disciples that the body was stolen which contradicts the “great joy” of Matthew. What gives? Sounds to me like the women ran away afraid with great joy telling no one but then everyone that the body was stolen? Help me out here!

Question. Pastor…Mark 16:14-15 tells us that Jesus tells the eleven to preach the Gospel. Matthew 28:9 allows Mary Magdalene and another Mary to hold his feet, but then John 20:17 forbids touching, as he had not yet ascended, but the next week Thomas touches Jesus hands. I assume Jesus was meaning his later public ascension and did not do a secret trip back to heaven to check in before he really went back in full view. What’s the story here?

Question. Pastor…Why all the doubting about the resurrection of Jesus with the disciples? In Mark 16:11, Luke 24:11 - Everyone doubts and/or is scared at first, but eventually they see the light and believe. In Matthew 28:16 only some doubt, but most believe. In John 20:24-28 everyone believes, but Thomas, who comes to believe. See how the doubting gets less and less in the order of the writing? Seems like each author is cleaning up the doubts of the previous one to paint a nicer picture and make the disciples not look so doubtful. Belief just gets easier and easier as time goes on right?

Question. Pastor…When and where from did Jesus return to heaven? Mark 16:14-19 says he ascends while they are all sitting at a table, inside I presume, near Jerusalem. Matthew 28:16-20 doesn’t mention ascension at all, but Jesus does meet the disciples for the first time at a Mountain in Galilee where he had told them in 26:32 he would meet them after his resurrection. But then in Luke 24:50-51 Jesus ascends outside, after dinner, and at Bethany and on the same day as the resurrection! I guess Luke realized that Jesus would have had to go through the roof in Mark's account, so got him outside where they could see him go into the clouds instead of just into the rafters. Luke also corrects Matthew’s “I’ll first meet you in Galilee” by saying in Luke 24: 5-8 that they needed to remember that Jesus told them, when in Galilee that he would see them again in Jerusalem by rising from the dead there.

Seems like Luke is correcting Matthew idea that Jesus would see them in Galilee by reminding them Jesus told them, when in Galilee, they would see him in Jerusalem, where events needed to take place for Luke. John mentions no ascension and in Acts 1:9-12 we are told Jesus ascends at least 40 days after his resurrection and from the Mt. of Olives.

Now all these things can’t be a harmonious account of just where and when the ascension occurred. We remember the ascension story of Luke in Acts, but the others don’t match his. They just don’t.

Question. Pastor…When did John find out Jesus was the Messiah? In Matthew 3:13-17 John seems to know and baptizes Jesus, but then, in Matthew 11:2-3, while imprisoned, John the Baptist sent followers to Jesus to inquire if Jesus was the messiah. Did he forget?  Also in Luke 7:18-22 John the Baptist sent followers to Jesus to inquire if Jesus was the Messiah.  but in John 1:29-34,36 John already knew Jesus was the Messiah. Also, remember how when pregnant Mary walked into the room of pregnant Elizabeth and John leaped for joy in the womb of Elizabeth. Did baby John memories of Jesus as Lord fade and was he not told all the miraculous stories of both their births? Maybe John doubted the whole thing after he found himself in prison facing death. Or maybe the story evolved a bit as we have seen in other stories?

Question. Pastor… In Matthew 9:18 as certain ruler comes to Jesus to ask for help, saying his daughter was already dead. But in Luke 8:41-42, Jairus approached Jesus for help, because his daughter was dying. Now I am a parent and would know if my child was dying or dead! Healing the dying is a bit easier than healing the dead too I might add. So was she or wasn’t she?

Question. Pastor… In Matthew 10:10 Jesus instructed the disciples not to take a staff and not to wear sandals. But in Mark 6:8-9 Jesus instructed his disciples to wear sandals and take a staff on their journey. Seems like the same sending forth to preach and not two different times. Can you see how confusing this is? I wonder who showed up wearing or not wearing and carrying or not carrying what? Since Mark is the oldest Gospel, don’t you think that’s the way to go?

Question. Pastor…In Matthew 20:20-21 the mother of requested of Jesus that James and John, Zebedee’s children, should sit beside him in his Kingdom. But in Mark 10:35-37 James and John, Zebedee’s children, requested that they should sit beside Jesus in his Kingdom with no mention of mom. Could it be that Matthew added that mom did the asking to cover the embarrassingly real story of the disciples James and John asking this humble request right after Jesus had just given a short speech on the first being last and the last first, and them evidently missing the point? And if so, isn’t this the editing of God’s inspired word again by men, not to mention blaming mom?

Question. Pastor… How many blind men besought Jesus? Matthew 20:30 says Two blind men sought healing, but in Luke 18:35-38, only one blind man did. Do you think that maybe Luke just didn’t see the other one..ha! Or maybe Luke was deaf and didn’t hear the story right. Ok, just kidding. We need to lighten up here! But I’d remember if it was two or just one since I have a brother that is blind.

Question. Pastor…Did Jesus preach his first sermon on the Mount or down on the plains? Matthew, in 5:1-2, says Jesus preached his first sermon on the mount but, of course, Luke 6:17 & 20 says that Jesus preached his first sermon in the plain.

In Bible times, were Mounts also considered Plains? I do know the difference between our Great Plains and Rocky Mountains here in America, but maybe I am missing something. I know the temptation here is to say what difference does it make where he preached, but if you gave a really good sermon in the church and I kept telling everyone it was in the park, wouldn’t you want me to correct that? Or would you at least not think one of us wasn’t really there to hear it?

Question. Pastor…Where did the devil take Jesus first? In Matthew 4:5-8 the Devil took Jesus first to the parapet of the temple, then to a high place to view all the Kingdoms of the world. But in Luke 4:5-9, the Devil took Jesus first to a high place to view the kingdoms, then to the parapet of the temple. What the Devil is going on here! Once again, I know I would remember if I first when to Greenville, SC and then to Rochester, NY or to Rochester first, then Greenville. I just remember stuff like that! What gives?

Question. Pastor… In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus delivered the Lord’s Prayer during the Sermon on the Mount before the multitudes. But in Luke 11:1-4, he delivered it before the disciples alone, and not as part of the Sermon on the Mount. Which was it, or were the disciples too far back in the crowd to hear it being given originally on the Mount? Or was it the Plain, I forget? And as long as we are at it, why would Paul not quote it and instead said in Romans 8:26 “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Seems he just made up a new “how ought men to pray” and never heard the Lord’s format. Well, I do realize he had lived and died before the Lord’s prayer was written down, but you’d think he would have heard such a basic teaching of Jesus. I guess it’s good to know the Spirit groans for us. Can’t the Spirit just speak? Nevermind…

Question. Pastor…Matthew says in 19:19 to” honor your father and mother.” But then in Luke 14:26 it says those that “come to me and does not hate his father and mother, cannot be my disciple.” Even in John 2:3-4 Jesus is said to have cracked back to his mom when the wine ran out, “woman, what concern is that to you and me?” Kinda harsh isn’t it? Then in Matthew 8:21 when a disciple begs for permission to go buy his father, Jesus says no, and that his whole spiritually dead family should bury his father. Whew…so if this is Jesus idea of honoring mom and dad, it seems a bit off putting to say the least. What do you think?

Well Pastor, I guess that's about it for now.  Pastor?  You OK?  Any comments at all?  Hey, where you going?  What?   I'm going where? But you're the one that told me to study my Bible and if I had any questions to ask you.  What?  The wisdom of man is foolishness with God?  That's my answer?  What?  The questions might seem right to me but will end in death?  What?  Trust and Obey for there's no other way?  Sorry I asked.

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Dennis Diehl is a former pastor of 26 years,  who outgrew the Literalism of Fundamentalism.  He writes about Pastoral and Church abuse and is available to speak on such topics or be helpful to any church suffering under abusive (more...)

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