Who Is The Real Jesus?
In this passage, John claims he actually saw Jesus. Later he tells us he touched him, traveled with him and heard him teach for three years. He speaks about Jesus as a friend. But the writer of the Gospel of Barnabas makes no such claim.
Both writings also differ regarding Jesus’ crucifixion. The Gospel of Barnabas presents Judas Iscariot as the one who died on the cross instead of Jesus, whereas in the New Testament, Judas betrays Jesus.
This teaching that Jesus didn’t die on the cross is extremely significant since the entire Christian message is built upon the death of Jesus as the Savior for our sins and his resurrection as our hope of eternal life.
Both messages can’t be true since the New Testament says Jesus clearly died on the cross and the Gospel of Barnabas states otherwise. So how can we know which Jesus is real?
The best way to know the truth about whether or not Jesus died on the cross is to check the historical record. Even secular historians are convinced that Jesus did truly die on the cross (see the evidence for Jesus’ death and resurrection at http://y-jesus.com/wwrj/6-jesus-rise-dead/).
Another important way to verify whether the Gospel of Barnabas or the New Testament is portraying events truthfully is to compare the reliability of the two different accounts.
Although scholars use several tests to determine a manuscript’s reliability, the most important is whether or not it is an eyewitness account. In a criminal trial, eyewitness testimony is always considered far superior to the testimony of someone who didn’t witness the crime.
So can we know whether the Gospel of John or the Gospel of Barnabas is an eyewitness account?
One reason scholars cite for John’s authorship is the fact early church historians attribute the writing to him. But in order to have been written by him, it must have been written during John’s lifetime. If evidence points to it being written after the early second century when John was dead, it couldn’t have been written by him.
Likewise, if the Gospel of Barnabas was written after Barnabas’ lifetime, it too couldn’t have been an eyewitness account. However, if either gospel can be traced back to the first century, the likelihood of its reliability greatly increases. So what does the evidence tell us? Let’s begin with the Gospel of Barnabas.