by Wayne Blank
Most people are aware that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were actual cousins through their mothers Mary and Elizabeth. Many people are surprised to discover that Jesus had another famous cousin John. Although the proof is not as obvious and direct as with John the Baptist, the Scriptures are just as plain, when you add up the pieces, that Jesus and the apostle John were also cousins.
Cousin John, John the Baptist
The angel Gabriel stated that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were cousins - and therefore Jesus and John were cousins. Whether Mary and Elizabeth were first cousins, or second cousins, or second cousins once removed ("once removed" is merely a genealogical term for a second, third, fourth etc. cousin who is in the generation up from one's own) is a range of possibilities with Mary and Elizabeth since Mary was a teenager and Elizabeth was in her "old age" when they had children (both Jesus' and John's conceptions were miraculous). Whatever way it was, the Holy Scriptures plainly state that Mary and Elizabeth were cousins, and therefore so were their children Jesus and John the Baptist:
"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:34-37 KJV)
Cousin John, the apostle John
Jesus Christ and the apostle John as cousins is not as obvious (people who have studied the Bible their entire lives have overlooked it, which is understandable because of how the proof is in pieces - I only discovered it myself a few years ago, in one of those eureka! moments), but the proof is there nevertheless, in two parts, each of which themselves are in two parts. Add them together and it becomes very clear.
First, standing among the women near the cross with Jesus' mother Mary was Salome (as identified by the apostle Mark in his Gospel account), who was Mary's sister (as the apostle John himself states in his Gospel account, as it turns out, about his own mother - Mark's Gospel account refers to her by name, John's Gospel account refers to her by her relationship to Mary), and therefore Salome was Jesus' aunt:
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25 KJV)
"There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome" (Mark 15:40 KJV)
From the first part above we know that Salome was Mary's sister. Now, second, Salome is then also identified the wife of Zebedee, as John is identified as the son of Zebedee. The picture is then complete. Salome is identified as Mary's sister and John's mother - John was therefore Jesus' cousin.
"And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father" (Matthew 4:21 KJV)
"Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children [i.e. Salome, as identified in the first part, above]" (Matthew 27:56 KJV)