This reader’s question has to do with apparent conflicts in the order of events between Matthew’s and Luke’s gospel accounts. Here is the full QUESTION:
I am confused by the events of Matthew 12-13 conflicting with the chronology of Luke 8 and 11. Matthew says chapters 12-13 occurred on the same day, and it seems that he gives the logical chronological order of the unpardonable sin followed by mystery kingdom parables. Luke, on the other hand, records the unpardonable sin in chapter 11 and the parables in chapter 8. So, it appears that Matthew, rather than Luke, has the proper chronological order. Could you please explain what is going on?
Strictly speaking, the only parallel passages dealing with the initial rejection of the Messiahship of Yeshua by the Jewish leaders and the committing of the unpardonable sin are the accounts of Matthew 12 and Mark 3. When Yeshua begins moving into parabolic teaching in the parallel passages Matthew 13 and Mark 4, Luke includes the parabolic teaching in chapter 8, but totally skips the national rejection of the Messiah mentioned by Matthew and Mark. The events mentioned in Luke 11 did not happen at the same time or in the same area as those in Matthew 12-13 and Mark 3-4.
In the opening of Luke 11, the Pharisees and Scribes are not mentioned, and the accusation against Yeshua is coming from the members of the multitude (Lk. 11:15). This reveals that the multitude at this point of time is beginning to believe what the Pharisees and scribes had been saying against Yeshua. Luke chooses to record the subsequent events, that is, the crowd’s questioning, which followed the rejection by the leaders that Matthew and Mark record.
A helpful resource for you would be Ariel’s Harmony of the Gospels or the Harmony of the Gospels by A. T. Robertson. These resources will show you the difference between what is happening in Matthew 12-13 and what is happening in Luke 11, indicating that these are different times and different circumstances, though they certainly have points in common.
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Arnold Answers with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.