This is a post I’d really like to get your comment on …
Most people know that Jesus and John the Baptist were second cousins, but few know that the Apostles James and John were Jesus’ first cousins.
I’ve always found John the Baptist interesting because I was born on the feast day of St. John the Baptist (June 24th) and was actually named “John” for this reason. Jay is a nickname. I later became the editor of The Forerunner which is another name for John the Baptist. John was a bold prophet who spoke the word of God without fear for his own life. James and John were similar. They were called the “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus. The Apostle John is also known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” So my other namesake, the Apostle John, is interesting to me as well.
This is something I discovered this year while reading a book on the canonicity of the Bible. Jesus’ first cousins were James and John. I doubted this when I first read it, but the more I looked at the scriptures concerning the relationships, the more convinced I became that this is right. It has significance because it helps to explain how the New Testament canon came about. It also helps to explain several other obscure passages in the New Testament scriptures.
I’ll write more on that later, but first the data. Read the following and decide for yourself if Salome is the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John, and Mary’s sister. If you disagree or agree, I’d like to get your comments.
1. In the Gospel of Matthew, James and John are identified as the sons of Zebedee.
“And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father” (Matthew 4:21).
2. Standing among the women near the cross with Jesus’ mother Mary was the mother of Zebedee’s children as identified by the Gospel of Matthew.
“Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children (Matthew 27:56).
3. Standing among the women near the cross with Jesus’ mother Mary was Salome as identified by the Gospel of Mark.
“There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome“ (Mark 15:40).
4. Salome was Jesus’ mother’s sister as the apostle John himself states, about his own mother. Mark’s Gospel account refers to her by name. John’s Gospel account refers to her by her relationship to Mary.
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).
From Matthew’s account we know that James and John were the sons of Zebedee. By comparing Matthew and Mark we discover that Salome was the name of wife of the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. From John we see that Salome was Mary’s sister.
I first thought that there could be other women in the account as well, but the order of the names and the similarity of the language in the accounts leads me to be almost certain that Jesus’ mother’s sister is Salome, the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. Therefore, James and John were Jesus’ first cousins.
The implications of this are enormous when we consider how the various books of the New Testament were compiled and the roles that James and John, and also the “brothers of the Lord” James and Jude, had in writing and compiling the New Testament canon.
I’ll write more on that idea next.
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