III. THE LAST SUPPER
A. WHEN? BEFORE OR DURING PASSOVER?
The contradiction is eliminated if we remember that Jewish days are counted from evening to evening. The Washing of Feet mentioned by John took place before the Last Supper, during the vigil of Passover, while the Last Supper took place after sunset, and thus during the day of Passover.
B. THE LORD'S SUPPER INSTITUTED BY JESUS OR PAUL?
The accusation of Paul inheriting the Eucharist from Mithraism is absurd. Paul was an ultra-conservative Pharisee and wouldn't have mixed his own religion with a pagan religion. The Eucharist was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper and Paul received the same commandment to celebrate it in order to elevate him on the same level as the other apostles who partook in the Last Supper in person.
C. JUDAS ISCARIOT
Judas betrayed Jesus, there's no doubt about this, despite the claims of the author. The money were used by the Sanhedrin to buy the field where Judas Iscariot had hung himself. The imagery of Judas' bodily destruction adopted in Acts is metaphorical and hyperbolical, and Judas bought the field only indirectly through the Sanhedrin. The name of the Field of Blood is etiologically discussed for catechetical purposes by Matthew and Luke: Matthew shows the REASON why the Sanhedrin called it Field of Blood, while the Apostles see a prophetic sense in this choice, associating it with Judas' suicide. A last word to state that Judas Iscariot wasn't in the number of the 'twelve' when Christ appeared to them. There were probably not only the eleven apostles, but also many other disciples not mentioned in the passage, plus the Virgin Mary with her fellow pious women. In this case, Paul is referencing to the presence of the full council of the Twelve as he knew it, including in anticipation Matthias who would be sorted right before the descent of the Holy Spirit to become the 12th apostle, an event Paul was well aware of despite being absent at the time!
IV. JESUS' TRIALS, DEATH AND RESURRECTION
Many passages of the arrest and trials of Jesus have just been omitted for synthetic reasons by the different authors, as it was ordinary in ancient chronography. Anyway, all of the trials experienced by Christ during the night and the first daily hours are expressely contained in the four Gospels. There are no contradictions: any author can choose a different perspective on an event and thus pick and choose the most significant aspects according to their sensibilities and purposes.
Barabbas was, generically speaking, a criminal. He might have been accused of being a rebel, murder and theft, so no contradiction. We have no proof from history that Pilate's practice to release a prisoner is mere fiction, and the description Josephus makes of him might reflect his behaviour after Sejanus' treachery in 31 AD (and thus, one year after Christ's death in 30 AD) so that he began to show more rigidity against the Jews to show his unconditioned fidelity to the Emperor. The matter of the purple robe fits well in the category of omission, as I said above regarding the trials.
V. THE CRUCIFIXION
The robbers on the sides of Jesus might have been cooperators of Barabbas, also a rebel and robber at the same time, as I said above – in this case, only Barabbas was replaced but his two companions were put to death by crucifixion anyway. The soldiers might have been forced by the great number of disciples Jesus had to allow Mary and the others at the feet of the Cross – maybe under Pilate's decision. The narration of the open tombs is an omission that connects the event of the earthquake at Christ's death and the other one when there was the resurrection. I don't see any problem here.
C. THE RESURRECTION
The Gospels narrate two distinct events. Mary and the other women (the different synoptics mark the names the wanted to, but they all agreed on Mary Magdalene). All of them were at the tomb, but Mary Magdalene came alone while the others all together, so that Mary spoke to Jesus "the gardener" in private revelation. This is just a possible explanation, but I'm open to different opinions. In this case, maybe, the women kept silent until they met Mary Madgalene who had encountered Jesus in person, and at that time they decided to announce all this to the apostles.
V. THE ASCENSION
The first event narrated in Luke 24:51 ISN'T the same as the Ascension narrated by the same Luke in Acts 1:9-12. The definitive ascension (the enthronization, if you want) occured only in Acts.
A. THE UNCHANGEABLE LAW
Jesus hasn't changed law. He has fulfilled it. In other words, he has FULFILLED the liturgical and purity laws of the Old Testament which were figures of Christ (thus making them unnecessary after his resurrection) and at the same time He has enforced the Ten Commandments with the Commandment of Love as a key of interpretation to Moses' law. When Paul speaks of law of Moses he always refers to the Jewish religious practices concerning rituals and never to the laws condemning sin.
B. NO SIGNS, ONE SIGN, OR MANY SIGNS?
The word 'sign' is used in different ways among the different authors: John uses it as a synonim for 'miracle' in general; Mark means an explicit manifestation of Christ's divinity; and Matthew means a secret miracle which can be understood by faith only by Christ's disciple but which isn't manifested to the masses.
C. SON OF DAVID?
The fact that Jesus didn't need to be a son of David in order to be our Saviour, but anyway he was the son of David, isn't a contradiction. The fact that I don't need my father to be an engineer to be an engineer myself doesn't mean that if my father is an engeneer I CAN'T be an engineer, don't you think? While Psalm 110 – as quoted by Peter – as the purpose to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the words of Jesus want to show us that He isn't worthy of being Messiah just because of his ancestry, but only due to His divinity which pre-exists to the House of David!
D. THE FIG TREE
Jesus didn't expect the fig tree to be fruitful in that season, but he wanted to show that, being God himself, nature must obey to His power and necessity even if the plant wasn't expected to give fruits at that season. Also, Matthew's narration is evidently telescoped while Mark's is complete indicating a passage of time from the fig's damnation and its withering.
E. THE GREAT COMMISSION
The Church never fought internally over the doctrine of the Trinity; on the contrary she fought against the heretics that mined it with their blasphemies. The expression "to baptise in the name of Jesus" doesn't repeat the baptismal formula, but distinguishes between the baptism of Jesus (whose purpose is cleansing of original sin) and the baptism of John (whose purpose is repentance) to a public which was concerned very well with John's baptism which preceded Christ's. The Trinitarian formula is incredibly ancient, as it is witnessed in the Didache (end of the 1st century BC)
F. ENOCH IN THE BOOK OF JUDE
The Apostles didn't have to recognize a writing as inspired to quote it in the NT, but they could easily use the folklore and popular wisdom of the Jews as recorded in the Apocryphal OT books to give teachings, as well as we as Christians do when we use the Protoevangelium of James or the Dormition of the Mother of God according to John the Theologian to give teachings on subjects the Scriptures never touched but are present and evident in the continuity of Church Tradition. Of course, this is a weak point for the Protestants but not for Catholics and Orthodox who rely on Tradition too.
G. THE APOSTLE PAUL'S CONVERSION
The contradiction is eliminated if all of the men present heard no voice BUT the man who was journeying together with Paul, and of course Paul himself who also saw Christ in His glory.
H. JESUS CALLS THE DISCIPLES
John's Gospel is referencing the vocation of Andrew and Peter to discipleship, while the synoptics, in two slightly different but yet complementary version, records the vocation of Peter, Andrew, James and John to the apostolate. In the first case, Jesus just wants them to become his followers and faithful; in the second, they are specifically called by Him for the ministry of the Twelve, so another contradiction is solved.
I. SHOULD THE TWELVE DISCIPLES TAKE A STAFF?
Jesus might have decided to mitigate the rigidity of these rules, accepting that the disciples might take a staff with them.
J. THE APOSTLE PAUL GETS CONFUSED
In theology, it doesn't matter how we arrive to define a doctrine, but the doctrine itself. Paul might have failed in the argumentations taken to defend a doctrine, but the doctrine itself was infallible as an inspired teaching. Paul was a human, afterall!
K. THE SECOND COMING
Jesus wasn't wrong when he said he was coming in the course of that generation: infact he reveals himself in His glory everytime we die and get into Paradise (God willing). Also, the fact that there was expectation for a near-future Second Coming is due to the virtue of Hope, and not to the virtue of Faith. As Christians, we must behave as if Jesus were to come in the near future, so that we can be ready when our hour comes to be judged after death.
The "four corners" means "from all directions". It is a typical semitic expression the Bible adopts, coherently with her Middle-East culture. The Bible isn't inerrant: it's accurate and infallible, but can use errant language to teach a doctrine on faith or morals. I would say that all languages are inappropriate for this task! On the Book of Daniel, and on the final conclusions drawn by the author, I have nothing to say: prophecy can have multiple levels, as I have already mentioned above, and I don't see any serious contradictions in the Gospel narrative.
In Christ, Alex