There was not all that big a gap, you know. The earliest gospels were most likely in written form by 50-60 A.D. along with Paul’s epistles. Revelation is possibly 90 AD at the latest. Considering that ‘word of mouth’ was used by JESUS HIMSELF in his three years of ministry, it really is not that likely that by the time the gospels were passed around in their first written form that ‘embellishments’ would have made it through. There were still many people who had personally known Christ who were alive and kicking, and still others who were at most ‘one generation on’, having been told of Jesus by a parent or older relative.
You must also remember that the culture of the time was very condusive to clear and ACCURATE oral records and had been so for many centuries.
Do you have children? Have you ever told a child a bedtime story one night and had them ask for it again the next night. . .only to correct you if you had said “black pony” the first time and then “white pony” the next night? Remember, you have (at the beginning) literally thousands of people who remembered what Christ said to them at a given time or place, because that is what people were conditioned to do–to listen well, to commit to memory, to repeat over and over to fix firmly in the memory.
At a time when people are still expecting Christ to come at any time, and there are many witnesses to His words and life, the idea that somehow the gospel writers–men who themselves had known Him (Matthew and John), or were closely allied or related to those who knew Him (Mark attached to the household of Peter) or who used as primary source His own Mother (Luke), who themselves believed in Christ passionately, somehow found Christ’s life and words so lacking that they had to make them ‘better’???
It doesn’t make sense. It presupposes that Jesus was not really God (God would not have to have somebody ‘embellish’ Him) and that Christianity was nothing but another attempt to gain some kind of vicarious ‘godhood’ and power by men.
Trouble is, those men wound up dying.
Trouble is, in the time of Christ, literally dozens of ‘messiahs’ had come out, claiming to be messiah, and being killed. How many of them are spoken of today?
So we are expected to believe that, despite the fact that every other ‘claimant’ to be Messiah had died (supposedly just like Jesus died), and their followers had just melted away because, hey, so-and-so was just another ‘good guy’, that the apostles and thousands of people who ‘knew’ that Jesus was ‘just another guy’, thought that they could ‘rewrite history’ and that somehow, THIS would make Jesus into somebody whose ‘claim’ would last? Though nobody else’s had?
For WHAT? Were they getting powerful? Heck no.
Did they expect their memory to ‘live on’? WHY? Supposedly, if they knew Jesus was not really God, what did they think awaited them? Why would they care if ‘their guy’ did ‘better’ than any other Tom, Richard, or Herod, eh?
It simply does not make sense. But then again, if the goal is to make Jesus into just a ‘good moral teacher’, whom you are free to follow just as much or as little as you will, and if Christianity is just ‘another fairy story’. . .well, then it makes sense. Discredit the man (while giving him the faint praise of ‘good man’) and you discredit (or so they think) the entire religion. And you can look like a great guy for ‘permitting’ those poor deluded Christians to have their ‘good guy’, and hope that they’ll ‘wake up’ to his lack of godhood.
It’s diabolical. May God turn their hearts to truth and away from lies and deceit.