Vol.XIII No.VI Pg.1
August 1976

John And Cousin Jesus

Robert F. Turner

Have you considered how John could have felt about his cousin Jesus?

Sibling rivalry (as the books say) could have arisen between these two at an early age. John was about six months older; and his father was a priest, while Jesus apparent father was a carpenter. For that matter Johns birth to aged parents was more unusual (to the public eye) than the seemingly normal birth of Jesus.

John was well known, and already had a following when Jesus began his earthly ministry. And, after all, Jesus came to him to be baptized. What an opportunity here to crow a bit, and act superior.

John was a strict ascetic, and came neither eating nor drinking, while Jesus led a normal social life, eating and drinking (Matt. 11:18-19). How easy it would have been for John (had he been like many today) to feel that Jesus was worldly. Here I am, wearing camels hair and existing in the wilderness on locusts and wild honey; and he lives it up at a banquet with publicans and sinners. But John didnt act like so many of us act today. When Jesus asked for baptism John said, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? John practices his preaching, having said, He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, (Matt. 3:11, 14).

Some of Johns disciples seemed to resent, or at least question, the growing popularity of Jesus (Jn. 3:25-36). What an opportunity to show some peevishness, with friends to console and comfort. But John said, A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven. I am not the Christ. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegrooms voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.

And Jesus said, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he (Lu. 7:28). Is there no lesson here for todays children of the kingdom??