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(871) Ease of creating scripture

By Michael Runyan ~

Suppose you are a scholar living around 90 AD and want to write a gospel of Jesus.  
You don’t know anything about Jesus, but you have copies of the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke to use as source material. Much of what you write is copied from the previous gospels, although you make small changes in style and editing, sometimes inserting subtle changes in the order and progression of events and in the dialogue.  
However,  you want your story to stand out in some way, so you decide to invent a pleasant story to make Jesus seem even more spectacular than he’s been presented previously.  Here is the new material you add to your gospel:

Andrew 12: 10-24

The next day, Jesus and his disciples entered Kursi on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus commanded his disciples to say nothing to anyone as he was fatigued from the previous day’s travel and large crowds.  But as they entered the city, a man who walked with a limp recognized him and said, “Master, I saw your great works in Capernaum, Lord, I beseech you, not for me, but my mother, please come to heal her and forgive her sins.”

Jesus was moved by the man’s faith and said, “Very well, take me to her.”  The man’s mother was born without legs and had to be carried about, but yet she bore two healthy sons.  Jesus took pity on the woman, but commended her, “Woman, you have taken what the Lord has given you and made the most of it, blessed are those who receive little, and yet give much.”  The woman replied, “Sir, or master, I have been blessed all of my life with a good and faithful husband and two fine sons, there is nothing more I could ask of God.”

But the sons responded, “Lord, she is too humble to ask for anything, but we know you have your Father’s favor and can do great things, please in all humbleness, may you heal her and make her whole?”

Jesus was moved by the faith and dignity of this family and began to shed tears.  The room became completely silent and Jesus cried out, “Father, not for me, but for your glory take this woman, full of faith and charity, in your hands so that she might be at peace and be made whole.”  Jesus then took both of his hands, bringing them over the woman’s body, covered her with a blanket, and then said a prayer, “with this touch, thou shalt be made whole.”  He then commanded the sons to remove the blanket.  When the woman became uncovered, she was seen to be fully formed.  Everyone gasped with astonishment and began to praise Jesus.  The sons helped the mother up and she took the first steps of her life. Jesus told the sons to find her new clothes and shoes.

As Jesus left the house, he commanded the disciples to tell no one of what they had seen.  Because of the commotion, Jesus left the city and stayed overnight two miles away.  On the way he told the disciples to take two tarps they found along the way, for it began to rain.

There is every reason to believe that if your gospel had been placed in the Bible that people today would believe that this was a true, factual story in the life of Jesus. Who could refute its truth?  Yet it was just made up because you wanted your gospel story to be more compelling than the previous ones.  This is exactly what happened over the decades following Jesus’s ministry.  We see it in the gospels as they chronologically became more sensational.

Also note the subtlety of adding two unnecessary elements to the story above- the first son having a limp and the rain at the end. These gratuitous details are a means of making a fictional story seem more real, and it was a technique used time and again by the gospel writers.