Questions & Answers – The Gospels

Messianic Secret

I have heard people say that the reason the Jews didn't accept Jesus as the Messiah is due to the fact that he didn't want them to know. That becomes apparent in passages in Mark where Jesus commands silence of demons (usually right after they have called him the Son of God), people that he healed, disciples, etc. Why would Jesus not want people to know who he was? And is there such a thing as a "messianic secret" in Mark?

Feeding of 5000

In John 6:8-9, Andrew brings a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish to Jesus, and then asks, "But how far will they go among so many?" I've been wondering about that very same thing. How did five loaves and two fish feed 5000 men? What do scholars say about the feeding stories?

The Beloved Disciple

I have always believed that the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, was the "beloved disciple," who wrote the Gospel of John and the letters of John, and who was exiled to Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Now I understand none of that might be true. How can this be?

The Anointing Woman

All four gospels have a story about a woman anointing Jesus. Some of the phrases are very similar, but there are also some major differences. Are these all the same story and, if so, what was the point of the story?

Ages of John the Baptist and Jesus

Approximately when was John the Baptist born and when was Jesus born? How soon after Jesus began his ministry did John the Baptist die? When did Jesus die? Some books say Jesus' was born between 6-4 B.C.E. The Anchor Bible Dictionary says John the Baptist died between 28-29 C.E. and Jesus died in 30 C.E. Are these dates correct?

Jesus' Birthday

We had considerable discussions over the holidays about when Jesus was actually born. Do scholars know? And if he wasn't born on December 25, in the year 0, how did that come to be the date it is celebrated?


In several places in the Gospels we read about Herodians. Who were these people?

John's Imprisonment

When Jesus heard John was in prison, why did he not go help him? I had a wonderful healing of a kind of guilt that had been with me for years from reading this passage (Mark 1:14). But I have always wondered if Jesus was knowingly trusting John's fate to God, or what.