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.
1. Jesus Christ: Dragonmaster
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.
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, the dragon tamer, would have been pretty effective when converting metalheads and 14-year-old boys.
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.
2. Jesus Takes Pools of Water Very Seriously
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:
“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.” – Infancy Gospel of Thomas 3:2-3
And straightway that lad withered up wholly.
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.
3. Jesus Christ Up and Wastes 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
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.
4. Jesus Christ: Snake Exploder
By now Jesus is dominating Nazareth like Lord Humungus dominates The Road Warrior’s wasteland.
The local children feared him so intensely that they adopted him as their king and acted as his bodyguards — forcing everyone who passed through town to come and worship him.
One day a group of men came by carrying a small child, and they refused to follow a group of terrified children just for the honor of worshipping their bully king. Jesus catches wind of this and asks exactly what it is they’re doing that’s so important they can’t reserve some time for random child worship.
They explain that the boy they’re carrying was bitten by a snake and is near death, and would terribly mind taking his boot off their necks, because they’re so, so sorry?
Jesus Christ (more sci-fi warlord than beacon of forgiveness in this version of the Bible), says simply, “Let us go and kill that serpent,” and storms off into the woods to do what he does best: extravagant murder.
Then the Lord Jesus calling the serpent, it presently came forth and submitted to him; to whom he said,
“Go and suck out all the poison which thou hast infused into that boy”; so the serpent crept to the boy, and took away all its poison again. Then the Lord Jesus cursed the serpent so that it immediately burst asunder, and died. — First Gospel of Infancy 18:13-16
Even after it acquiesces to Jesus’ demands, the snake is still blown to crap by the power of God for doing what’s in its nature? Holy shit!
5. And Then Jesus Said Unto Them: Snitches Get Stitches
By now the parents of Nazareth were understandably upset: Jesus was walking around town ruining little kids like a bad divorce.
So they gave Joseph an ultimatum: Either Jesus learns to use his powers for good, or the family has to leave town. Considering that, by this point, Jesus has killed more kids than a Willy Wonka tour group, that sounded pretty reasonable. But Christ ain’t tolerating no narcs up in yore:
Jesus said, “I know that these thy words are not thine: nevertheless for thy sake I will hold my peace: but they shall bear their punishment.” And straightway they that accused him were smitten with blindness. — Infancy Gospel of Thomas 5:1
And that was the last straw: Joseph finally decided to discipline his son. But what do you do in response to a list of crimes more befitting a Grand Theft Auto sequel than a holy child? Grounding? Caning? Imprisonment?
None of the above.
Joseph “grabbed [Jesus’] ear” and “wrung it till it was sore.” You may laugh, but in the end Jesus does end up uncursing everybody; just not out of some well-deserved sense of remorse or the slightest hint of empathy or anything.
Eventually, a local teacher starts frantically screaming to everybody that Jesus Christ is probably God, after a Good Will Hunting-style display of intelligence at his Nazareth grade school. (Funny, you’d think the boy’s ability to kill with words would have clued everyone in sooner.)
So now that the secret’s out (the kid laying siege to entire countries with his superpowers is– surprise — extraordinary), Jesus figures he may as well reverse all the death and destruction because, hey, once you get your proper, there’s just no reason to blast them, bitches, no more.
If you take one thing away from this, let it be that Jesus Christ wasn’t born the Gandhi-like paragon of peace you know him as.
He’s more like a reformed con: sick of the game because he lived it too hard for too long.
If there are two things that you take away from this, let the second be that the power of Christ is terrifying. Sure, miracles like bread splitting or winemaking might seem a bit dull, but that’s just because the church decided that the part where Jesus became the snake-melting dragon master was a little too terrifying for your delicate sensibilities.
You straight up can’t handle that much Jesus.
*This article was originally published at www.cracked.com By Brian Thompson.