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The Jesus Double-Act

Author: Michael Lewis

Copyright © 2001 Michael Lewis

Is it possible that there were two Jesus', and that the
histories of both have become entwined in the modern Bible?  An examination
of the evidence suggests that this is not only possible, but highly

To begin with, let us look at the Gospels.  Matthew and
Luke definitely appear to be writing about different men.  Matthew's Jesus
is the aristocratic heir to the throne, born in his rich family's house in
Bethlehem. Luke's Jesus is the poor carpenter's son, born amongst the animals
behind an inn in Bethlehem, and laid in a manger. 

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Matthew's Jesus

  • An aristocrat, descended from David via Solomon and a rightful and
    legitimate king.
  • Jesus' family lived in a house in Bethlehem, where he was born.
  • Jesus was visited at his birth by Magi (priests of ancient Persia (Iran) who also practiced in
    Chaldea and Babylon).
  • Herod's persecution forces Jesus' family to flee to
    Egypt.  On their return they settle in Nazareth.
  • A powerful and majestic sovereign who comes "not to
    bring peace but a sword."
  • On the cross, he says "My God, my God, why hast thou
    forsaken me?"

Luke's Jesus

  • An impoverished descendent of the house of David.
  • Jesus' family lived in Nazareth, and traveled to Bethlehem, where he was
    born, for a census (of which there is no historical record).
  • Jesus was visited at his birth by shepherds.
  • Jesus' family return to Nazareth after the census.
  • A meek and mild, lamb-like Savior.
  • On the cross, he says "Father, into they hands I commend my spirit."

Mark and John also add their inconsistencies, but these
inconsistencies appear quite random, and are presumably simply erroneous
reports.  Mark agrees with Matthew that on the cross, Jesus says "My God,
my God, why has thou forsaken me?", and according to John, Jesus simply says "It
is finished".  Mark also agrees with Luke and Matthew that Jesus was
crucified the day after Passover, though John tells us that he was crucified the
day before.  The reports of Mark and John do not seem to be referring
specifically to either Jesus, although it is from Mark that we get the idea of
Jesus as the carpenter's son, which would seem to tie in with Luke's Jesus. All
four gospels tell slightly different versions of the story, which is to be
expected of witnesses to any event, but the stark contrast of Matthew's Jesus
and Luke's Jesus suggests that these two men had different Jesus' in mind when
they were writing.

Matthew and Jesus were friends, and Matthew wrote his gospel based on his experiences during the time that he knew Jesus, whereas Luke's gospel was written around 40AD, based on the teachings of St Paul, and Luke never met Jesus. Christianity is based on the view of Jesus portrayed by Luke, but clearly this view, taught to Luke by St Paul, is not the same view as that of Matthew who knew Jesus personally.