Question:

I always get confused and I’m also asked by skeptics regarding the first miracle of Jesus and he selecting his apostles. If we read the Synoptics they say that after being baptized Jesus went to wilderness and was tempted by the devil, rejected at Nazareth in a synagogue and then he selected his apostles while they were fishing.  But John totally tells a different story!  He doesn’t mention Jesus being tempted by the devil.  He says that Andrew met Jesus first and then he called Peter, Nathaniel and Philip.In John it says that the first miracle which Jesus performed was at the wedding oat Cana, but what about miracles prior to that which included helping Peter catch a net full of fish, healing many, and driving out an evil spirit? In John it says that turning water into wine was the first miracle in Galilee though he performed miracles prior to this by helping Peter catch many fish in Galilee, healing many and driving out an evil spirit.  Are these not contradictions?And in Luke it says that Jesus was standing at lake of Gennesarat but in Matthew and Mark it was the lake of Galilee.  Are these not contradictions? How do we reconcile all these contradictions put them in order from the baptism, temptation, calling his first disciples and his first miracle?

Answer:

By now you should be seeing the pattern [note to reader: this person has asked a few questions of this type], which is that all of these supposed “contradictions” people are putting out there are nothing of the sort.  These come from people who are not trying to understand the Bible, but to find excuses to create unbelief.  This supposed contradiction is rather easily explained.  You should bear in mind that when John wrote his gospel he almost certainly had read Mark, Luke and Matthew, so it is not likely he would introduce contradictory material!  In any case, it is rather clear from the context that the events of John 1 and 2 happened before Jesus started his pubic ministry.  This is clear in John 2 because Jesus told his mother Mary that his time had not yet come.  In other words his time of public ministry, including the working of miracles had not yet come.  This also helps to explain what would otherwise be a mystery in Mark.  Why would these young men leave their nets and follow a person they had just met?  The answer comes from John.  This was NOT the first time they had met Jesus.  They had met him, perhaps months before, and spent some time hanging out with Jesus.  Peter, James, John, Andrew and Nathaniel already knew Jesus before he called the first disciples in Mark 1.  The events in John 1 and 2 precede Jesus going out into the desert, which was the last preparation before his public ministry.  This also answers your question about the turning of water to wine at Cana, which was the first miracle Jesus performed.  He did this before he started his public ministry, and he seems to have done it only because his mother asked him to.  As to Luke, the Sea of Galilee had several names.  It was Galilee, Gennesarat, Kinneret and Lake Tiberias.  It is not unusual at all for cities, rivers and countries to have multiple names today as well.  There is Bombay and Mumbai as well as Madras and Chennai.

John Oakes

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