Babies John and Joshua

by Don R. Hender


       Perhaps but a fanciful fantasy of an artist's fiction, after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph did stay in and about the land area of Jerusalem for such events as Mary's purification and Jesus' naming, circumcision, presentation to the Lord and such at the temple (Luke 2:21-38) as well as the wisemen's visit, which did occur while still there. Once the required tax reporting stay in Bethlehem-Ephratah, where else might Mary and Joseph have stayed but with cousin Elisabeth and Zacharias living in the hill country, Ramah of Ephraim, where that Levite family which by tradition served the tribal family of Ephraim in an anciental city of the Levite cites in Ephraim?

We are told that the young todler babe of John the Baptist came under the same edict of Herod which called for the murder of all such males of that age range which would include John and Jesus. And we are told that the Zachariah who was murdered between the porch and the temple was the father of John in conjunction with that baby search and his likely refusal to devulge the where abouts of his son John as well as perhaps also the baby Jesus. Certainly Herod's scholars research would have particularly noted such community events as the 'miracle birth' of John to the aged Elisabeth and also the eventful circumstance of that night of Jesus' own birth. Likely specifically targeted was the priest's son John of Zacharias as well as that child born in Bethlehem of Joseph and Mary. But as not to let them escape the whole of that age group was to be murdered as well. And in that 'hill country of Ramah' whence it would be noted by Matthew that such as Rachel did weep for the death of her children. (See Commentary Luke 11:51)

Had John and Jesus for a short time as babe and todler so known each other as Mary stayed with her close cousin Elisabeth? Would such childhood memories be stirred in those masterful minds of John and Jesus upon John's baptism of Jesus in Jordan? John was about six months the senior of the two cousins, so when Herod's edict was pronounced that all the children from the age of two years and under were to be murdered, that would have meant from John of about age 2 to Jesus about a year and a half would be so included. And this according to the time of wisemen who has come and visited traveling from the distant east unto the 'house' where now a one year and some old baby Jesus was living in the land about Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1-18).

I like to think of such as a baby Jesus starting to take his first steps and a slightly older walking todler John holding his hand to steading him in such a service when the babe was first finding his feet upon the ground. It seems but a fitting parallel to John so preceding the way before the Christ in preparation for the ministry of our Lord and Savior. Could that thankful mind of the fledgely unsteady babe's first steps and the kindness of an slightly older todlers assistance have been revisited between John's baptism of Jesus and when John was beheaded by the order of Herod's son been so mindfully reflective of such relationship of events between John and Jesus in Jesus' mind after John's death? John had sought assurance while in prison that his cousin Jesus was the promised Messiah, but he had alreay had such witnesses from the day of Jesus' baptism on. And John himself had but so testified of him that this was who Jesus was. What else could Jesus have sent and said unto John but to have him to be told all those things and miracles which Jesus was doing in now fulfilling the way which John had prepared?

*SIDE NOTE: John was about 6 months in Elisabeth's womb when he leaped with excitement inside his mother's womb when Jesus just recently having been conceived in Mary's womb came within his presence. And yet the child John, still unborn, recognized the presence of his cousin Jesus. Mary stayed three months with Elisabeth before returning to Nazareth. For those three months these two unborn children would have been 'house-mates'. So, are babies inside of the womb really people having an identity? God knows us as persons, even within the mother's womb. Perhaps no greater joy was had by expectent mothers as that of Mary and Elisabeth over their unborn sons. What momentous expectancy is there in a child to come? What mother could abort any such life of such a child with a great potential in life? What if there had never been a John the Baptist to prepare the way? What if there had never been a Jesus to accomplish the ends of the destiny of mankind? Think about it, just think about it.

rev. 8-5-2012