St. John of the Shroud: Priest, Servant of the Priest, Cousin to Jesus

imageIn his serialized attempt to convince us that Jesus took his burial shroud with him following his resurrection and gave it to John the Apostle who was the servant of the priest mentioned in a fragment of text from St. Jerome that quotes the Gospel of the Hebrews, Stephen Jones explains that Jesus and John were first cousins and that the Apostle John was also a priest.

I know that, didn’t I? Did I?  If so, I didn’t know why. Very ingenious analysis by Stephen:

Mark and Mathew evidently record the three prominent women disciples standing by the Cross after Mary, the mother of Jesus, had been taken by the Apostle John (Jn 19:26-27), her nephew (see below), to his home[11]. That the remaining three women mentioned are the same group in each account is shown by Mark listing "Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome" as the women who went to the tomb in the early morning after the sabbath to anoint Jesus’ body (Mk 16:1).

That means that Jesus and Apostle John were first cousins:

[ . . . ]

Mary was also a "kinswoman" of Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (Lk 1:36 YLT)[13]. The Greek word for "kinswoman," sungenis, is simply the female of sungenes "a kinsman" (Mk 6:4; Lk 1:58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; Jn 18:26; Ac 10:24) including "of tribal kinship" (Rom 9:3; 16:7,11,21)[14]. Elizabeth was one of the "daughters of Aaron" (Lk 1:5), that is, she was of priestly descent and the daughter of a priest[15]. Therefore Mary, and Salome her sister, were descended from David (Lk 1:32) and so were of the tribe of Judah (Mt 1:1-6; Lk 3:30-31) and also they were descended from Aaron, and so were of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:16-20). There is no contradiction in this, as while a priest had to be a descendent of Aaron, he was not required to take a wife from the descendants of Aaron but the only requirement was that she was an Israelite virgin (Lev 21:1,7,14)[16]. The conditions of Jesus’ descent from David (Mt 1:1; Rom 1:3; 2Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16) are satisfied if at least one of Mary’s parents were of Davidic decent[17].

Therefore, for the Apostle John, the son of Salome, to be a priest, it was only necessary that his father, Zebedee (Mt 4:21; 10:2; Mk 1:19; 3:17; 10:35; Lk 5:10), was of Aaronic descent and therefore was a priest[18]. And that would have been so if Mary (and Salome’s) father, Heli (Lk 3:23)[19], i.e. "Eli" – a priestly name (1Sam 1:9; 2:11; 14:3), was a descendant of Aaron and therefore a priest[20]. And that would have been the case, if the father of Elisabeth, who was Mary’s and Salome’s kinswoman, was a brother of Zebedee, John’s father. Further Biblical confirmation that John was a priest is found in Jn 20:4-8, where John reached the empty tomb first but did not enter it until after Peter went in and confirmed that Jesus’ body was not there. It was forbidden for a priest to enter a tomb[21] where he might make contact with a dead body and so become "unclean" (Lev 21:1-3)[22].

8 thoughts on “St. John of the Shroud: Priest, Servant of the Priest, Cousin to Jesus”

  1. Plain rubbish. One does not need to be a biblical scholar to understand what family relations meant to Jesus. Did he change his mind after the Resurrection? It does not seem so. He appointed Peter as the head of the Church. James, his cousin, to whom he appeared, later became the first bishop of Jerusalem and Judah bar Kyriakos, the last of the twelve Jewish-Christian bishops of Jerusalem was a descendant of Jude, also related to Jesus.
    What we read in the New Testament is the Word being preached, no talk about any burial shroud being carried around as “proof” of the Easter event.

  2. Methinks Stephen got Yeshua’s (extended) family links all mixed up. Mary the step-mother of James is Mary the mother of Jesus/Yeshu’a. On the cross, the latter gave John (Mark), his beloved disciple, as a new son to his own mother, Mary. Besides there are more than one John. Hence Stephen’s confusion.

  3. Addendum: John (Mark) lived in Jerusalem at the time of Yeshua’s death and resurrection while John of Salome was the son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman.

  4. It is sad to see people in the realm of Shroud studies clutching at straws in order to authenticate the relic. Are they being different from people in other fields who have other points of view and who also employ similar methods?
    We have an attempt to find what remained of Jesus (and Mary Magdalene) in Talpiot:
    Before that attempt began, there was another, much bigger one, where Jesus was taken not to Talpiot but to Kashmir:
    The first attempt has been debunked. As for the second one, it is better to excavate the Kashmir tomb and show the world that who is buried there is the Sufi mystic Yuz Asaf.
    Please, “Shroudies” should show better research.

  5. Considering John was the youngest member, he most certainly wasn’t a priest since there was a minimum age limit for that. It is likely that he had connections, probably by birth. There is no evidence from historical documentation or Scripture that Jesus and John were related.

  6. The number of different Jewish names in NT Palestine was very limited. From the Rahmani statistics of 286 names on 231 inscribed ossuaries, only 16 names account for 75% of all names appearing in that sample. Some significant names including their variants are: Salome ~9.1%, Simon ~9.1%, Mary ~7.0%, Joseph ~6.6%, John ~4.2%, Yeshua ~3.5%, James ~1.8%. The Witherington statistics reflect a similar kind of pattern.

    The apostle John of Zebedee was a Galilean fisherman, one would think an unlikely candidate for a Jewish priest. There seems to be no good cause for asserting that he was closely related to Jesus, other than both being Galileans and possibly living in the same town. Luke records that Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins through their mothers, Mary & Elizabeth. Luke also claims that John the Baptist’s father was the priest Zechariah. Both John Mark and Mary his mother are recorded in Acts 12 as living in Jerusalem. Adrie vd Hoeven has asserted that John Mark had a temple function as secretary to the High Priest, and has made a case for the Shroud being his temple garment. John Mark has been credited with writing the second gospel based on his close association with Peter in Rome. I am unable at present to accept the argument that he is also the writer of the fourth gospel.

    Because of the limited number of names used in NT times, I believe great caution is required when attempting to identify persons with the same name as the same person.

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