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The Gospels that made it into the Bible pretty much skip from the birth of Jesus Christ to his adulthood, but there are other documents that chronicle the adventures of Jesus Christ: Boy Wonder. They're part of something called the New Testament Apocrypha, a series of books deemed unfit for inclusion due to concerns over the message they'd send or, in some cases, the number of faces they'd melt with their sheer awesomeness. Most of the stories are pretty normal fare -- healing lepers and raising the dead -- but some are so insane that we learn that the answer to, What would Jesus do? is Whatever the hell he wants.
The New Testament didn't just descend from the skies onto newsstands the morning after Jesus ascended up to heaven. The 27 books in modern Christian Bibles weren't declared official until over 300 years after Jesus walked the earth. By that time, thousands of sayings and stories about Jesus' life had to be left on the cutting-room floor. Such was the case of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. The name comes from the fact that it's basically an extended director's cut of the Gospel of Matthew that made the Bible, covering most of the same territory save for one regrettably deleted scene.
No, not this one.
Two years after Jesus was born, King Herod got word of a child being called the "king of the Jews" and ordered that all two-year-old male children in Bethlehem be killed to protect his throne (making Herod the first, and last, member of the controversial "kill all babies" political platform). But God managed to warn Joseph in time, and the family fled before Herod's men arrived. You probably knew all that. What you may not have known is that on their way to Egypt, Jesus and his family stopped to rest in a cave, which, to their surprise, was populated by a herd of dragons. (What do you call a group of dragons? A flock? A pride? A concert?) Actual scaly, fire-breathing, winged lizard-dragons.
And, lo, suddenly there came forth from the cave many dragons; and when the children saw them, they cried out in great terror. Then Jesus went down from the bosom of His mother, and stood on His feet before the dragons; and they adored Jesus, and thereafter retired.
-- The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Chapter 18
That's right: The Bible could have included a passage detailing how Jesus Christ totally gave the cold shoulder to a dragon army. At first glance, this seems like a pretty baffling omission. Jesus Christ, dragon tamer, would have been pretty effective when converting metalheads and 14-year-old boys.
This doesn't have quite the same draw.
It makes a lot more sense if you believe that God was handling editorial duties. Jesus totally could have used his dragon-taming powers to sic an invincible hell-beast armada on Herod's ass. That's what the God from the Old Testament would have done. If our son squandered powers that awesome, and we were editing his biography, we'd probably skip that part too.
"I should have taken him hunting or something."
Written in the early second century, around the same time most scholars date the four Gospels in the Bible, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas picks up the story a few years after the dragon taming. Back in Nazareth now, five-year-old Jesus was playing beside a small brook with some other children, forming pools of water to make clay. (Fun had yet to be invented.) Jesus formed some sparrows out of the clay and, since he was not the figurine-collecting type, decided to give the sculptures life, and off they flew on his command. One of the children playing with Jesus saw this and, rather than thinking, "Holy shit! That kid can create life with a word -- I should probably not walk up behind him and start splashing his pools with a stick," instead walked up behind him and started splashing his pools with a stick. And Christ just goes apeshit:
Above: An appropriate response.
"O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the waters do thee? Behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit." And straightway that lad withered up wholly.
-- Infancy Gospel of Thomas 3:2-3
It doesn't say that the Lamb of God took trophies, but it's probably safe to assume.
And, like the Nazi archaeologist in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the boy started aging rapidly and withered away. Sure, it would've been easier just to kill the kid, but this is Jesus Christ we're talking about here. He's not just gonna up and waste some kid.
In Thomas' version of events, later that same day as Jesus was casually strolling around town, running divine errands, another boy accidentally bumped into him on the street. So what would Jesus do? He'd probably use his divine presence to heal the boy of being friggin' clumsy, right? Let's see:
Jesus was provoked and said unto him, "Thou shalt not finish thy course." And immediately he fell down and died.
-- Infancy Gospel of Thomas 4:1
And you don't want to know what happened when he lost the school science fair.
We ... He probably ... No. Wait. He just murdered a kid for brushing against him? Was Jesus a Crip? Far be it from us to question the judgment of the Son of God, but being sentenced to death for scuffing Christ's sandals seems excessive. Maybe if the kid had been walking exceedingly slow right in the center of the sidewalk so he couldn't get past him and was just obliviously yakking away on his cell phone while, like, eight people stuck behind him were trying to get somewhere and seriously if you would just move four inches to one side we could get past and GODDAMN IT DON'T STOP SO THAT WE ALMOST RUN INTO YOU. OH, AND JUST TO STARE SLACK-JAWED AT A TABLOID ON THE NEWSPAPER KIOSK, YOU SON OF A BITCH -- maybe that's a walking crime worthy of divine capital punishment. But wasting a kid because he touches your arm? Jesus was like a bully in an 80s high school movie, if they had been able to murder people with words.
He rolled kids for lunch money before he whaled on money changers.