The terminal postures of Jesus are related in separate accounts by John and Matthew at impossible variance with each other. The accounts also contradict themselves.Thus too are recorded the moments before death, as seen in Mark 14:29-30 (see below) and similar passages.
John’s account says: “And now Jesus knew well that all was achieved which the scripture demanded for its accomplishment; and he said, I am thirsty. There was a jar there full of vinegar; so they filled a sponge with the vinegar and put it on a stick of hyssop, and brought it close to his mouth. Jesus drank the vinegar, and said, It is achieved. Then he bowed his head, and yielded up his spirit.’’
But the above is recorded differently by Matthew who was another eyewitness along with John. According to Matthew, the vinegar remained undrunk by Jesus. Again, Matthew did not hear him say, It is achieved. What he heard from him instead was: Eli,eli, etc. Matthew says that hearing him say eli, eli, and so on, “some of those who stood by said, he is calling upon Elias: and thereupon one of them ran to fetch a sponge, which he filled with vinegar and fixed upon a rod, and offered to let him drink; the rest said, wait, let us see if Elias is to come and save him. Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit” (Matthew 27:45-50).
John records an entirely different version—that he did drink the vinegar and afterwards said to himself, it is achieved. Then, says John, he bowed his head and yielded up his spirit.On the other hand, the remaining two writers, Mark and Luke, have their own versions of the death incidents. These contradict with one another and also contradict severally or commonly with either Matthew or John or with both.Mark 15:36: “And thereupon one of them ran off to fill a sponge with vinegar,and fixed it on a rod, and offered to let him drink; wait, he said, Let us see whether Elias is to come and save him.” This contradicts with Matthew. In Matthew, the rest of the soldiers break in with the word Wait, and not the same person who brings the vinegar, as in Mark.
To come to Luke now. Luke 23:36-37: “The soldiers, too, mocked him, when they came and offered him vinegar, by saying, If thou art the king of the Jews, save thyself.”In Matthew, the same soldiers at the same moment express themselves differently. They say, Wait, let us see if Elias is to come and save him.Luke goes on: “And Jesus said, crying with a loud voice, father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and yielded up his spirit as he said it” (23:46). These are not his last words that John heard. John 19:30: “Jesus drank the vinegar and said, It is achieved.Then he bowed his head, and yielded up his spirit.”In sum, the rebellion against reality persists from the first to the very last moment. As for the latter, such a phenomenon of postmortem nature cannot be understood except under supposition of a consciousness that keeps working even after presumed death.
Now for the initial rebellion.According to Matthew, three wise men came from the east to have a glimpse of Jesus immediately after he was born. They presently got a warning in a dream forbidding them to go back to Herod. They therefore returned to their own country along a different route. When Herod found that the men had played him false, he got all male children of two years and less in Jerusalem and surroundings killed. None of the three other writers makes mention of the alleged slaughter. Further, there is no historical proof for such an atrocity on the part of man. Matthew says the men saw Jesus’ star in the east. This too is absurd. All they could see is a star. They could hardly see the star of Jesus. How would they know it was Jesus’ star? No previous writer has left such a warning! Matthew writes further that Herod sent these men along with instructions to report to him after finding out the birthplace of Jesus. Herod sent them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, a distance of 6-7 miles or about two hours on foot. In order to see the dream,they should have gone to sleep. Where did they sleep while returning? Luke 2:7: “She brought forth a son, her first-born, whom she wrapped in his swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” It follows that the so-called wise men did not go to sleep. Nor did they see any dream warning them against returning to Herod.