Many people imagine that the narrative of the events of Jesus’ life recorded in the Gospels was written several years after they took place, and in doing so they draw the hasty conclusion that they are to be taken with a pinch of salt. They believe they are therefore untrustworthy, made up and embellished to make them fit stories that supported Christianity.. The reality, however, is quite different. Biblical scholars all agree that the narratives of the Gospels were written about thirty years after they took place. That means that the perpetrators were all still alive at the time, and either they had personal contact or they had direct contact with eyewitnesses of the facts they were reporting.
Contrary to the flamboyant statements of the Muslim apologist Maurice Bucaille, who declares that “we have no testimony from an eyewitness of the life of Jesus”, the version of the New Testament facts is all clearly and confirmed by direct witness accounts. For example, John, the author of the fourth Gospel, wrote this in his first epistle:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, (1 John 1: 1-3)
Jesus is the Word of life and in the Koran is called the Word of God. John was a member of the circle of the intimate friends of Jesus. He was at the foot of the cross in the company of Mary, the mother of Jesus, at his death.
Do you think that the disciples simply fabricated the story of the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection? If the editors of the Gospels decided to exaggerate the other eyewitnesses who were still alive would have been able to refute it all. Many of the eyewitnesses were not believers. They had seen the miracles, death and heard stories of resurrection, but rejected Jesus. If the the disciples wanted to make up stories, there were enough who were against the Christians who could easily have refuted it all. They would have been challenged by those who were in a position to know well what had happened.
The gospel stories were written to encourage, but also challenge the readers of the time to enable them to verify the facts with the direct witnesses of the life of Jesus. Names of people and places are used. Why name and identifying so many people in the stories of the Injil if it’s all made up? Doubtless the writers were aware that people could research, visit and ask questions so that anyone who wanted to could go to the places, and seek out the people involved. They could go to Capernaum, for example, to Jairus, the leader of the synagogue, and question him at will about what had happened to his daughter (whom Jesus raised from the dead as Luke 8:41 relates).
Let us also take into account that each of these authors suffered for the facts they reported. In the end, they suffered martyrdom for their unshakeable faith in Jesus and for their written witness. No one would risk suffering torture and even death for something he knew beforehand to have invented himself from scratch.
We must conclude that the portrait of Jesus painted in words in the New Testament is totally reliable and trustworthy.