So, is it true that the case for the truth of the Gospels would be thrown out of court? I don’t think so.
First of all, Matthew is one of Jesus’ Apostles. That means that he is Jesus follower and contemporary who witnessed many of Jesus miracles as well as His Resurrection. So, Matthew is an eyewitness. Eyewitness testimony is permitted in court.
Then there’s Mark. Mark is Peter’s secretary. Also a contemporary of Jesus and one of the disciples who was with the twelve from the beginning. Mark’s gospel however, is the penning of Peter’s teachings by Mark. So, Mark’s Gospel can be considered both eyewitness testimony and substantiation of Matthew’s Gospel.
Luke’s Gospel is written by a learned man. A physician. Luke however, was not with the twelve from the beginning. He may have witnessed Jesus’ resurrection but certainly he witnessed the miracles of the Apostles and of Paul, whose companion he became. These things he wrote about also in his other book, the Acts of the Apostles. So, Luke’s Gospel is not eyewitness testimony. It is however, the documentation of eyewitness testimony by an investigator. Luke says so himself:
Luke1: 1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us; 2 According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word: 3 It see med good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.
And that leaves John. John, of course, is an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He, therefore, is also a contemporary and an eyewitness. John’s Gospel was written after the first three, or synoptic Gospels and includes in his Gospel many things which the others ommitted. He also leaves out many things which the others included. Therefore, John’s Gospel is eyewitness testimony which substantiates and corroborates the other eyewitnesses.
How might the case go had it been brought to court? It actually did go to court, see Acts 4:1-23 and Acts 5:17-42. But I’m envisioning a more modern setting.
Mr. Simon bar Jonah to the stand please!
Peter! Their calling for you!
Here I am sir! My name has officially been changed to Peter, if you don’t mind.
Who changed your name to Peter?
Jesus Christ sir.
Is Jesus Christ here present?
Yes sir. But in the Spirit. However, my brethren are here and they were witnesses to the event.
Who are these witnesses?
Well, there are many, but would four suffice?
That is more than enough. What are their names?
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Are they the four whose testimonies I have read?
There are some incredible things written in those documents. Do you expect us to believe them?
Yes sir. 16For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Pet 1).
Well, compared to that Mohammed fellow, you have plenty of witnesses. Can you imagine he tried to pass off his 40 secretaries as witnesses? All they did was write what he told them to write. Not only that, but some fellow named Uthman came along and burned all their original writings and substituted his copy claiming it was better than the original. I wasn’t born yesterday!
I look forward to hearing your case Mr. Peter.
It’s St. Peter, sir. Thank you!
So, in my opinion, there is much more evidence for the Gospels than there is for Islam.