Jesus and John the Baptist

By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Jesus


What is the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist?


Luke is the only evangelist who mentions the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary. In his testament to the power of the spirit, the angel says, “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month” (Luke 1:36). Mary is a very young woman; Elizabeth is not. Scholars speculate there may have been 30+ years difference in their ages.

Nonetheless, that is all that is ever said. Scholars don’t know how they were related, whether through marriage or blood. Regardless, that makes John somehow related to Jesus. Nothing more is said about their relationship either.

When Jesus approaches John to be baptized, it appears they do not know each other. Possible explanations include the fact that both boys are born under Herod’s decree to kill all the boy babies. Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt. According to the “Infancy Gospel of James” (a non-canonical New Testament document), Elizabeth and John flee to the hill country. Because of his parents advanced age at the time of his birth, it is likely that they died while he was still a young man. He is reported to have spent most of his life in the wilderness. There is no reason to believe he and Jesus had any additional contact in the intervening years.


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