I have in the last few posts established some footing for the Scriptures being God’s word and how it is so. Of how studying Scripture without our Western lenses on will open them up to us. How there are some Scriptures that we have thought taught something that it may not actually teach. And finally how the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, have unity in their diversity. How they tell the same story even though one may leave something out or add something that others did not have. This leads us back to what I wrote in the post “Unity and Diversity.”
In that post, I ended with what is called undesigned coincidences. An undesigned coincidence as described by Lydia McGrew, in her book “Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts” as, “a notable connection between two or more accounts or texts that doesn’t seem to have been planned by the person or people giving the accounts. Despite their apparent independence, the items fit together like pieces of a puzzle” (12). She goes on and says an undesigned coincidence “provides reason to believe that both (all) the statements that contribute to it are truthful” (13).
There is one instance that stands out as one of these between Matthew and Luke. Lydia McGrew leaves it out of her book with reasons she lists for doing so but it is one she even admits it as being an undesigned coincidence (241 n15). I believe that it is a good one to share here and introduce many to these coincidences. It is found in Matthew 26:67-68 and Luke 22:63-65.
In the text from Matthew, we read, “Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” (26:67-68). This text by itself is interesting. It is interesting because it is odd. It is odd because they ask a man who can see who slapped Him. Why would they do this? It is clear they are mocking Him and ridiculing Him as the Christ, but it doesn’t seem to make sense as it stands. What can be the answer?
We can find the answer in the gospel of Luke 22:63-65 that says, “Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.” It is in this text that we see that Jesus had been blindfolded and was then slapped. They covered His eyes and mocked Him to prophesy who hit Him. This is a little detail that doesn’t make or break either story but it is one of those things that tie them together and helps to show the fitting together of the Scriptures.
It is very interesting how the Lord guided each author to write these details as they did and to confirm the truthfulness of His Word. There are many more throughout the Gospels, Acts, and Paul’s epistles. These are little details that confirm the authenticity of Scripture. They help to show that the Bible we have is the Word of God. Especially since Scripture, all of it from Genesis to Revelation, was written by forty different authors over a time frame of 1500-1600 years. These men were farmers, shepherds, kings, fishermen, statesmen, tax collectors, and many other aspects and areas of life. They hardly had anything in common except they were designated to be the one’s who wrote God’s Word. So, finding these connections should not be surprising to us since God is the ultimate author of His word. What they are and should be are signifiers to confirm how God organized and delivered His word so it can be confirmed and proven to be so by skeptical people.