When attempting to portray a complete picture of the legendary Jesus, Biblical revisionists often rely on what the apocrypha have to say. As it turns out, these early Christian teachings, which provide accounts of Jesus’s childhood rejected by church-fathers, do not always portray the benevolent, magnanimous Jesus most Christians—whether conservative or progressive—are inclined to believe in. Indeed, the portrait of Jesus we find when delving into these works is a child who uses his powers to kill those who, quite literally, rub him the wrong way.

When King Herod is informed that a baby boy will replace him as king, he orders the slaughter of all boys two years of age and younger. Having been informed of Herod’s orders, Joseph, Mary, and the young Jesus flee (with a host of other young children) to Egypt. On the way there, they find a cave to rest in, but when they enter, they encounter a horde of winged, fire-breathing dragons. At this point, the future King of the Jews coolly displays his ominous potential:

 

And, lo, suddenly there came forth from the cave many dragons; and

when the children saw them, they cried out in great terror. Then Jesus

went down from the bosom of His mother, and stood on His feet before

the dragons; and they adored Jesus, and thereafter retired.

— The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Chapter 18

But the Lamb of God’s powers do not remain dormant for long. In one book, Jesus is described as playing by a stream with some other children. While the other children are probably just splashing around, Jesus is digging pools of water next to the bank, in which he forms statues of birds out of the muddy clay. Being a miracle-worker, he then turns the bird-statues into real, living birds, which then fly away. Observing this, a child comes by and proceeds to splash the water in the pools with a stick. Jesus does not take kindly to his playmate’s antics, and uses his spell-casting powers to wreak vengeance on him:

“O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the

waters do thee? Behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree,

and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit.” And straightway that

lad withered up wholly.

— Infancy Gospel of Thomas 3:2-3

Just a little later in the same day, Jesus is gallivanting about town performing errands as well as the occasional miracle when a boy accidentally bumps against him in the street. What would Jesus do, you ask? This time, he lacks the patience to watch him wither and die:

Jesus was provoked and said unto him, “Thou shalt not finish thy

course.” And immediately he fell down and died.

— Infancy Gospel of Thomas 4:1

And no matter the creature, whether great or small, Jesus is not necessarily compelled by any nagging conscience to acknowledge an act of contrition; indeed, like his Old Testament father, Yahweh, he much prefers a merciless display of wrath to keep his loyal subjects in line. Apparently, the children of Nazareth feared him so much that some of them became his sycophants, guarding him and forcing others to pay their respects to him. In one case, a group of men carrying a small child through town refuse to follow the terrified children to visit the Christ-child. When Jesus asks the men why they refuse, they say that they urgently seek a cure for the child, who has been bitten by a poisonous snake. Even after the snake shows penitence for its crime, Jesus deals with it as a true son of Yahweh would:

Then the Lord Jesus calling the serpent, it presently came forth and submitted to him; to whom he said, “Go and suck out all the poison which thou hast infused into that boy”; so the serpent crept to the boy, and took away all its poison again. Then the Lord Jesus cursed the serpent so that it immediately burst asunder, and died.

— First Gospel of Infancy 18:13-16

Finally, the Nazarenes have had enough. They tell Joseph to discipline his child or leave town, and Joseph relays this ultimatum to his son. However, the way the savior of humanity shows mercy to those who tattle on him for being a child-killing tyrant is to reduce their punishment from death to mere blindness:

Jesus said, “I know that these thy words are not thine: nevertheless for thy sake I will hold my peace: but they shall bear their punishment.” And straightway they that accused him were smitten with blindness.

— Infancy Gospel of Thomas 5:1

Conservatives might smugly proclaim, “Well, we don’t have to worry about these silly apocrypha, because, after all, they are apocryphal because they weren’t inspired by God. They are just human perversions of the true story of Christ.” It would seem, then, that the apocryphal Jesus poses a problem for progressive revisionists, and not for conservatives. But the above claim by conservatives assumes that the apocrypha are indeed false, and the accepted canon, authentic. How do we know that the church-fathers, in compiling a divinely-inspired sacred text, really did reject the inauthentic books, and accept only those that were channelled from God? It is not necessarily more reasonable to believe that the church-fathers were guided by God in their selection of texts than it is to believe that they were guided by their own personal bias. Consequently, the church-fathers may have rejected as apocryphal books which did in fact contain divinely-inspired accounts of Christ—including the malevolent Christ. Thus, if the malevolent Christ is a problem for progressive revisionists, it is also a problem for conservatives. It is, ultimately, a problem for anybody who believes in Jesus.

Of course, for the right-wing, war-loving jingoist, the ruthless, aggressive Jesus is not a problem—in fact, he is a virile, red-blooded hero—but who in their right mind takes the ethics of such an individual seriously, steeped in machismo as they are? If we should be admiring and emulating a forgiving, forbearing, magnanimous deity, we cannot adopt such a Jesus; we have to look for the non-egoistic, proactively peace-loving one. And yet, as stated above, if the reliance on the apocryphal Jesus poses a problem for progressive revisionist, it also poses a problem for the conservative, since it is reasonable to believe that the true Christ is depicted in the apocrypha as well as the canon. Where, then, do we find the good Jesus? Or should we stop looking for him and content ourselves with the possibility that Jesus was not only imperfect, but impetuous and dangerous?

Source:

The Huffington Post

13 comments

  1. Josh says:

    “Conservatives might smugly proclaim,”… Or not.
    “Of course, for the right-wing, war-loving jingoist”….careful now, you’re agenda is showing.

    “Where, then, do we find the good Jesus? Or should we stop looking for him and content ourselves with the possibility that Jesus was not only imperfect, but impetuous and dangerous?”…Clearly you don’t believe in a “good Jesus” or a “bad Jesus” so what difference does it make to you?

    Lol. You’re an idiot.

    1. Rodney says:

      The bible says ” once made holy “. Book of Hebrews… Again it says ” He has made perfect THOSE WHO R BEING MADE HOLY… ect… Everyone HE cursed HE KNEW THEIR HEARTS WERE EVIL…IT TAKES NO CREDIT FROM OUR; MY SAVIOUR… AMEN

  2. tdcpepsiTimothy says:

    The point is simple….”People want Yahoshua to be what they want him to be but he is neither”. He is GOD and there is none like him. He is NOT a MAN [sinner]. He is NOT a certain political group, such as conservative or democrat….he is neither. All of these things are from MAN and anything that is from MAN is completely wrong!!!
    ONLY THE LORD YAHOSHUA IS PERFECT…. In the ancient past most people found it ok to kill children and the wars produced these monsters that loved killing children NOT understanding that all forms of life came from THE CHILD KING [YAHOSHUA], WHO IS THE ONLY GOD!!!

  3. Kay says:

    You’re speading false heresys!

  4. Sherry says:

    As much as the contents of these accounts that were left out of the bible are available on the internet these days, so is the logic the church-fathers used to decide what to leave out.

    When it comes to those they left out of the old testament, there were many reasons to reject these books, lack of authenticity, not historically accurate, etc., but ultimately according to what I read, they decided to follow what the Jewish faith accepted as canon because Jesus did not disagree with it, and they felt that since he made a point of correcting things he felt the church elders had wrong, he would have corrected what should be accepted as canon as well if he disagreed.

    When it came to the books left out of the new testament, the ones you discuss here, they were mainly left out because their origins were suspect because the majority were written between 150 A.D. and 300 A.D and the rest of them later one as late as the 15th century. How could someone accurately record what happened in Jesus’ life more than 100 years after his death? ref: https://carm.org/lost-books-overview

    I think it is more than a bit disingenuous of you to leave this out of your article, especially as it is so easy to find with a couple of quick Google searches.

    You said, “How do we know that the church-fathers, in compiling a divinely-inspired sacred text, really did reject the inauthentic books, and accept only those that were channelled from God? It is not necessarily more reasonable to believe that the church-fathers were guided by God in their selection of texts than it is to believe that they were guided by their own personal bias.” I submit that we do not need to rely on the fact that they were guided by God or their own personal bias, but on sound logic, How does someone write accurately about an event 150 years before with no sources? They couldn’t have possibly been there, there are no others that report the same facts, are we to believe they passed these facts, that no one else knew, down through family lore accurately? That’s just silly.

    So we reject them, just as the church-fathers did, for good logical reasons and they present no problems for Christians of any kind.

    1. Dan Hoelck says:

      The canonical gospels were first written after 80-90 AD, with Luke undergoing revisions as late as 200 AD.

      The historocity of the apocryphal books is as suspect as that of the canonical books.

      If you have to believe that a higher power prevented 2000 years of human influence from manipulating the texts to serve its own ends, then by all means, please do.

      But your argument is based in faith, not logic or science. It’s not invalid, it’s just incompatible.

      If you have faith that your beliefs are true, that’s all that needs to matter to you.

      Just as no scientific argument can shake your faith, no faith-based argument will assuage my doubt.

  5. sammy says:

    i dont believe, not even a sentence in this story.

  6. DeadlierLemur says:

    My favorite parts of the bible are when Jesus is alone talking to God (himself) and someone who isn’t there is writing about it.

    1. Christopher says:

      Yes, and marvellous to say the least. Actually the event was recorder years later as the Holy Spirit spoke to men who wrote the event. proof of the divine origin of the Bible.

      2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

      Christopher

  7. R. Anthony says:

    I do not pretend to know all facts but using common sense. If Jesus was of the father or to some the father made son. Then the god of old testament was a just but very vengeful warrior god. His peace was for his subjects not his enemies. That being said it is obvious his son would be born with a warrior spirit but he was groomed for a purpose that he understood. But it would have taken time for him to grow into that man of faith and peace and fairness. He would not have liked bullies and unfairness but his response would be like his father and maybe mother who did not stand for those things. It was said god himself would ride a cherub to wage war for his people. So Jesus behaviour as a child does surprise me

  8. Martyn Briggs says:

    The traditional English folk song “The Bitter Withy” tells a story about the child Jesus. His mother lets him go out to play, reminding him that she doesn’t want to hear of “any mischief at night when you come home”. Jesus meets some other boys and proposes a game of ball. They snobbishly refuse to play with him on the grounds that they are lords and ladies sons, and he is nothing but a “poor jew’s child”. Jesus tells them that he is “an angel above them all” He creates a bridge from sunbeams and crosses a convenient river. The lord’s sons follow, fall into the river and drown.

    In a sequence rather reminiscent of a similar display of reasonably annoyed complaint by parents in “Albert and the Lion”, their mothers go and complain to Mary that that Jesus of hers has drowned all their sons and they are naturally a bit miffed.

    Mary whacks Jesus with a willow (withy) switch. Jesus curses the willow so that is “the very first tree to perish at the heart”.

    There are crypt paintings of Mary administering corporal punishment to the juvenile Jesus, but where the original tale came from I do not know. His behaviour is fairly typical of the average 8 year old – if he happened to be an omnipotent god.

  9. Schill MacGuffin says:

    I’m intrigued by the idea of a “maturing” Jesus/God — The idea that the child Jesus emulates the God of the Old Testament, while the New Testament brings the cosmic “New Deal”. The casual “fly-swatting” by young Jesus seems in keeping with the behavior of the God who precipitated the Great Flood, and numerous other, more targeted smitings. This Jesus, like the Old Testament God himself, has some sort of off-stage epiphany where he decides to change-up his strategy a bit — not quite abandoning the “Who are you to challenge me?” overtones of the Book of Job, but at least trying to break terrestrial cycles of violence by encouraging cheek-turning and charity. Just what might have driven that change in Father and Son is an interesting question that the Bible doesn’t seem to directly state, whether outright or metaphorically. The reason a Savior for Man was necessary is one thing, the reason God chose to provide one at that time and place is another. Because it was near the height of the Roman Empire? Possibly, but we’re never really told.

    Incidentally, such an arc would make for an interesting theme for some sort of Omen reboot, where a young Antichrist wouldn’t be all dark and scary and murdery, but would be pleasant and forgiving, perhaps even performing little miracles of healing and wonder, and developing a cult of devoted, non-violent followers, but is eventually turns, whether drunk with power, or ground down by the world’s cruelties — a reverse arc for the reverse Jesus, where he becomes disillusioned and rejects the ideas of redemption and forgiveness.

  10. Sue F says:

    Interesting article. I thought the story of the boy and the pool of water to be remarkably similar to the passage in Matthew 21:19:
    Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
    I always found that part of the New Testament somewhat disturbing; the supposed son of the Creator condemning a helpless tree to die. So, not all distasteful stories of Jesus were expunged by Church fathers…

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