Luke is the only gospel that claims John The Baptist (JTB) and JC (Jesus Christ) were cousins. Luke is also the only gospel to claim that JTB was born miraculously (1:5-25). The other Gospels did their best to downplay JTB, but Luke had done his homework. He had read every available history, so he knew that JTB was a big-deal to all of the historians, and JC wasn't. Each of the gospels make sure to hitch JC's ministry to JTB's, but JTB is merely a gateway prophet in each version. The opening act to a divine tragedy.
Luke decided to outdo the others by claiming that JC and JTB were blood relatives. That's how Luke operated as a pseudo-biographer of JC and later of Paul. Where Matthew distorted OT prophecy to sell his story, Luke distorted history to add an authentic aroma to cover up that fishy odor. Fact and fiction are often combined that way even today. The Civil War was historic. Scarlet O'Hara wasn't. In a thousand years GONE WITH THE WIND might be thought to be a true story because of its authentic backdrop and references to historic persons. Just like the gospel of Luke and Acts are to believers. Luke was a historic novelist and didn't even know it!
When Mary went to tell her cousin, Elizabeth, about her own miraculous pregnancy according to Luke, the five month-old fetus of JTB “leapt in her womb”, recognizing the hours-old fetus of JC within Mary (1:39-45). The funny thing is, they seemed to be unable to recognize each other afterwards in Luke's account. How novel of Luke! And nobody ever recognizes Superman when he puts on his specs and combs his hair back. Anything is possible in fiction. Even historic fiction.
Luke stated JTB was arrested (3:19,20) two verses before JC’s baptism (3:21,22)! Luke simply states that JC was baptized. There are no details given in the narrative. JC could have been dunked by one of JTB's acolytes according to Luke. No family reunion there.
Later, apparently from Herod’s dungeon, JTB learns about JC from his own disciples, and sends two of them to ask him if he was the Messiah (LUKE 7:18-30). JC sends them back to tell JTB that he was. I guess JTB forgot to ask, "S'up, cuz?"
Then JC goes on to talk to his disciples about how terrific JTB was. Not just a prophet. More than a prophet. Yet JTB had to send messengers. JC never mentions this alleged genetic link to JTB in Luke, or anyplace else. I think he would have brought it up at least once if Luke's claim was true. Wouldn't you?
The other three gospels show JC and JTB meeting as strangers, and the gospel of John even used JTB’s own words to refute Luke's claim of a family tie between these holy men.
The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and said, "Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. It was him that I said, ‘Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me, because he existed before me,’ I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptize with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John declared, ‘I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptize with water had said to me, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that he is the Chosen One of God."
Why did Luke make up such a lie? Was it because JTB was historical and JC wasn't? Was it because they were both historical, but JTB used to be a much bigger draw in his time? JC had arrived on the scene at the end of JTB's career, much like Elisha had with Elijah. Was JC a JTB disciple before becoming the next Messianic hopeful? This possibility seemed to bother the gospel authors. That's why they put so many self-deprecating remarks about his own unworthiness into JTB's mouth; that he was there on earth at that time only to usher in the true Messiah. They were eager to get JTB out of the story as fast as they could. Except for Luke, who attempts to use JTB's fame to build up JC as JTB's equal pre-baptism, and his superior afterward.
Consider what Josephus had to say about the fallout after JTB's execution.
Now when (many) others came to crowd about him, for they were greatly moved (or pleased) by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.
Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure against him.
FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS, THE ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS: Book 18, Chapter 5, Verse 2
Yes. JTB was very big news in his day. He wasn't a Christian, and had no desire to invent his own religion. He was a devout Jew. His followers came to him for purification, not conversion.
The gospel writers needed to bring JC out from under JTB's shadow, but they couldn't omit him, so they reduced JTB to the role of a mere torch-passer. Kind'a like Obi Wan Kenobi was in Star Wars.
Just like Muhammad tried to do with JC about 600 years later. According to Muhammad, JC had only come to serve Allah, and to foretell the coming of a greater prophet (himself) and the real true faith (Islam, of course). At least until the coming of Joseph Smith, the Rev. Moon, Jim Jones, David Karesh, and a host of other false prophets and control freaks who continue to find lost sheep in search of somebody to tell them how to live their lives for them. Sheep aren't known for their smarts.
And (remember) when Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Children of Israel! I am a messenger of Allah (sent) to you, reaffirming Taurat (the Torah, that came) before me, and giving the good news of a Messenger (reference to the Prophet Muhammad) to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” But when he (the Prophet) came to them with clear proofs, they said, “This is clearly magic (aimed at deception)!”
Don't bother looking for this "prophecy" of JC's outside the Quran. We're just gonna have to take Muhammad's word that JC actually said what he said he said. I guess we've got to have faith in the Prophet's truthfulness in order to buy this specious quotation attributed to the son of man by the founder of the rival faith. It's so easy to put your own words into the mouth of a dead man. Shakespeare did it all the time. At least he wasn't trying to deceive anybody into abandoning their families, giving away all they owned, and following him around like a bunch of lemmings!
It's just like Aesop's fable about the emperor's new clothes. He only appeared to be naked to those lacking in faith.
Lies beget more lies. And all lies are called the truth. Faith can fool you into believing practically anything, if you want it to bad enough. What's really the truth? Open your eyes, and your mind first. Think for yourself. Go figure.
Happy April Fools Day, dear readers! The joke's on all of us!
5 Question Challenge to Muslimshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtbbDx5ys9Y&feature=related