In a recent article entitled 9 Things You Think You Know About Jesus That Are Probably Wrong, Valerie Tarico writing for AlterNet says, “You might be surprised that some of your most basic assumptions about Jesus are probably wrong.” Whenever a writer uses the word “probably,” I know I am about to read something that is not factual, but an opinion. In this respect, Valerie did not surprise me.
She claimed Jesus’ hair had probably been cropped, and he was not as tall as we might have imagined. I do not recall burning any brain cells over Jesus’ height or the length of His hair, and I am not aware of any great doctrinal truths that hinge on these two points. But she did not stop there and went on to more significant issues.
She wrote, “We have no record of anything that was written about Jesus by eyewitnesses or other contemporaries during the time he would have lived, or for decades thereafter.” Here’s a news flash Valerie, the Gospels are eyewitness accounts written by His contemporaries. Yes they were written around thirty years after He ascended to the Father, but He had promised to return, and they thought that would be sooner than later. When they realized His return would not be soon, they recorded their accounts to preserve an eyewitness testimony of His life and ministry.
Jesus promised His disciples “the Holy Spirit…will…bring to your remembrance all that I said to you,” John 14:26. I have no reason to doubt, and every reason to believe, that the Gospel writers were faithful to record, with God’s help, what they had witnessed.
Valerie probably gets paid to write, but the disciples didn’t. They were maligned as fools, grievously persecuted, and eventually martyred. They refused to recant what they had written despite being subjected to some of the most horrific tortures known to man, and sealed their words with their blood. So I am not inclined to discount their eyewitness accounts merely because Valerie thinks we probably should.
Valerie goes on to write that biblical prophecies were “recalled, not foretold.” She claims that when Jesus chose to ride a donkey into Jerusalem, and Matthew wrote, “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet,” this is an example of Jesus merely recalling what the prophet Zechariah wrote (Zechariah 9:9) and then fulfilled it. I guess the baby Jesus while in His mother’s womb manipulated the entire Roman Empire to conduct a census at the right time so his mother and stepfather would travel to Bethlehem and arrive just in time for His birth to fulfill Micah’s 700-year-old prophecy that He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
Prophecy is the indelible hallmark of divine inspiration; only God knows the future. Biblical scholars claim twenty-five percent of the Scriptures when originally penned were predicting future events. They estimate approximately ninety-five percent of these have been fulfilled. Am I going to trust the Scriptures instead of Valerie’s doubts, probably.