Undesigned Coincidences 2: They Kept Silent

The Transfiguration by Raphael, 1520

The Transfiguration by Raphael, 1520

This is the second installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

They Kept Silent

In this article, we’ll consider the undesigned coincidence in Luke 9:36 and Mark 9:9.

In Luke 9, we are told about a major event in Jesus’ earthly ministry, The Transfiguration.  In this event, Jesus took Peter, John, and James to a mountaintop to pray.  While there, Jesus’ appearance changed, he was bathed in light, and the three disciples witnessed Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah.  A disembodied voice also spoke, affirming Jesus as God’s son.

Needless to say, for the three disciples who witnessed this supernatural event, it was pretty amazing.  Basically, it was earth-shattering in its significance.

But, Luke 9:36 (NIV) tells us:

…The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Seriously?  They didn’t tell anyone?  Why on earth would Peter, John, and James keep that quiet?

Luke’s gospel doesn’t tell us, but Mark’s does.  Take a look at Mark 9:9 (NIV):

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Now, it’s clear.  Peter, John, and James were under direct orders from Jesus to keep it quiet until his death and resurrection.  It’s interesting that Mark tells us about the command but doesn’t say whether the disciples obeyed it, while Luke records their obedience but says nothing about the command.

In this case, Mark explains Luke, and the two separate accounts corroborate one another.  This is just one more undesigned coincidence that demonstrates the interlocking nature of the gospels.  It is further evidence that these are independent accounts, and helps build the case for historical accuracy.  There are many more examples to come…