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Answering The Atheist
August 21, 2005 / Volume 5, Issue 34

What did the Centurion call Jesus when he died? Matthew and Mark both say "son of God", but Luke says "a righteous man". Is there a contradiction?

It baffles me that someone could think that it is contradictory for one man to make two statements, and be quoted by three different writers, two of them referencing one of his statements, the third referencing the other.

If I were to say of someone, "He's a smart fellow" and also, "He's pretty funny", would it be contradictory for a person to tell someone that I said, "He's a smart fellow", while another person mentions that I said, "He's pretty funny"? Surely not. The individuals simply reported different statements, both which were made by me.

In Matthew and Mark's writing, it served their need better to quote the Centurion's confession of Jesus' deity, while for Luke's writing, it served his needs better to quote the Centurion's statement of Jesus' righteous life. Simply, the Centurion made both statements, and there is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible