If we were to read this passage in isolation from the other Gospels, the term “evening” would appear to be nothing more than an incidental fact. It was evening when the sick were brought to Jesus. Simple as that.
But when we look at the parallel passage in Mark 1:21-32, we receive an interesting little tidbit that sheds light on why they came in the evening. When Jesus entered Capernaum, it was the Sabbath. Now given the influence of the Pharisaical view of the Sabbath (certain load limits and what not), it only makes sense that the people would wait until evening, as that was when the Sabbath stipulations were lifted.
“Oh, interesting,” you say. “Um, what’s the point?”
Allow me to introduce to you the concept of undesigned coincidences; a concept that Professor Tim McGrew unpacks in a deliciously interesting way. The basic thrust of this approach is to demonstrate that the NT Gospels are in fact eye witness accounts. This is done by showing how the Gospel writers incidentally touch upon a particular subject in a manner that would be very unlikely if they were simply copying another’s work. In the example cited above, Mark indirectly supplies a fact that elucidates Matthew’s account.
Now when these examples are multiplied at length, and when they crisscross in all directions, it points heavily towards the Gospels as being both historical and eye witness accounts.
To feel the force of this argument, listen to the interview. It’s very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Must Listen Factor: Moderate for most. High for those with an apologetic bent.
Difficulty: It’s fairly straight forward. I trust most will be able to follow the rationale.
Length: 51 minutes
To Download: Click Picture. It takes you to the download page.