Undesigned Coincidences 4: Herod’s Private Conversations

Jesus Before Herod Antipas, Albrecht Durer, 1509

Jesus Before Herod Antipas, Albrecht Durer, 1509

This is the fourth 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.

Herod’s Private Conversations

In this article, we’ll consider the undesigned coincidence in Matthew 14:1-2 and Luke 8:3.

Let’s start with Matthew 14:1-2, in which Herod Antipas, the Jewish king—and Roman puppet—was fretting about this man, Jesus:

1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

This passage raises a question:  How on earth did Matthew have any idea what Herod said about this matter to his attendants in the privacy of his own palace?  Well, a critic would say, “Easy!  Matthew just made it up.”

No so fast.  The answer may be in a minor, non-descript, and totally unrelated passage in the Gospel According to Luke.  In Luke 8:3, Luke lists a few people who were helping to support Jesus and his disciples.  Let’s take a look:

Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Well now, what have we learned?  We’ve learned that one of the women who supported Jesus and his disciples was married to Herod’s household manager.  We now have a solid indication as to where the intel on Herod’s conversations originated, and how it worked its way to Matthew (who was one of Jesus’ disciples).

This undesigned coincidence is even more compelling when one realizes that the two passages are utterly unrelated, and would not have been falsely constructed in this way to support one another historically.

In this case, Luke explains Matthew.  It’s yet another undesigned coincidence that demonstrates the interlocking nature of the gospels.  It is further evidence that these are independent accounts, and continues building the case for historical accuracy.  Keep checking back with us…There’s more to come!