Before He Was the Baptist

“I challenge you to eat a bug.”

Was John the Baptist the kind of child who could say that? As a mom, I’m curious about things like that. When did he get the taste of locusts and wild honey?

Imagine John as a teenager whose parents, conscious of prenatal prophecy, go out of their way to raise him. One day this parental pressure becomes too great.

John struggles with his call and tries to make big decisions. It is one thing to know God’s plan; It is quite another thing to have the courage to do it.

John stomps out of the house, so tired of this old story. Why does he have to hear from Gabriel for the thousandth time? When he was little he often asked: “Tell me how dad talked to an angel and how I jumped into the womb when Mary visited him.”

But now something is hurting in his stomach. After years in a righteous, mindful home, he feels compelled to do something. But what? His childhood, growth, and confusing emotions are part of his hidden life, just like that of his cousin.

Let us now assume that Mary, who visited Elizabeth before the birth of John, returns to many visits to Joseph and Jesus. The boys become good friends. They climb trees, throw stones and play boyish pranks on each other and do all sorts of things normal boys do. Today John doesn’t know that his cousin’s family has arrived.

“John is outside,” Zechariah said to Jesus. “Maybe you can do something to cheer him up.”

Jesus sees John sitting on a rock with bowed head and aimlessly throwing pebbles at another stone. Jesus is still standing near the house and gazing at a partially filled bucket of water in the hot sun. Grinning, he picks up the bucket and stands on tiptoe behind John. With a quick gesture, Jesus pours the water over his cousin.

“EEE-yow!” John yells in surprise. He chases his cousin down to a stream where John pushes Jesus into the water. Jesus appears stuttering and they both laugh as they leave the stream and sit down.

“Don’t you feel better now?” Jesus asks. After a few moments he urges: “You are worried about the future.”

“Yes,” John replies hesitantly. “What is God going to do with us?”

Jesus sits in silence, looks Johannes in the eye and waits. Without hurrying, John continues: “The prophecy about me says that I will prepare people for the Lord. I keep hearing a line: “A voice of a caller in the wild,” and I don’t know why. Do you know it?”

“Yes, I know,” says Jesus. “It’s from Isaiah. (40: 3-4) ‘Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be lowered.’ It’s about being ready. “

“Maybe I’m a little scared,” John says quietly. “What does a calling to be a prophet feel like? And at what moment does it become clear that it is time to act? “

“I think there will come a day when everyone is a prophet,” Jesus replied. “When the covenant is fulfilled, everyone will know when to speak an encouraging word and share God’s truth.”

John feels consolation even though the water he doused has dried in the sun.

“When it is time to act, John, we will know,” says Jesus, brotherly slapping John on the back. “Until then, we’ll see if dinner is ready.”

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