Infancy: Jesus and the Serpent

This story is part of the Infancy Gospels unit. Story source: The Lost Books of the Bible, edited by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr. (1926): The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.

Jesus and the Serpent

IN the month Adar Jesus gathered together the boys and ranked them as though he had been a king. For they spread their garments on the ground for him to sit on and, having made a crown of flowers, put it upon his head and stood on his right and left as the guards of a king. And if any one happened to pass by, they took him by force, and said, "Come hither and worship the king, that you may have a prosperous journey."

In the mean time, while these things were doing, there came certain men, carrying a boy upon a couch, for this boy having gone with his companions to the mountain to gather wood, and having found there a partridge's nest, and put his hand in to take out the eggs, was stung by a poisonous serpent, which leaped out of the nest, so that he was forced to cry out for the help of his companions: who, when they came, found him lying upon the earth like a dead person. After which his neighbours came and carried him back into the city.

But when they came to the place where the Lord Jesus was sitting like a king, and the other boys stood around him like his ministers, the boys made haste to meet him who was bitten by the serpent and said to his neighbours, "Come and pay your respects to the king."

But when, by reason of their sorrow, they refused to come, the boys drew them, and forced them against their wills to come. And when they came to the Lord Jesus, he inquired on what account they carried that boy. And when they answered that a serpent had bitten him, the Lord Jesus said to the boys, "Let us go and kill that serpent."

But when the parents of the boy desired to be excused because their son lay at the point of death, the boys made answer, and said, "Did not ye hear what the king said? Let us go and kill the serpent, and will not ye obey him?"

So they brought the couch back again, whether they would or not. And when they were come to the nest, the Lord Jesus said to the boys, "Is this the serpent's lurking place?" They said it was.

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. And he touched the boy with his hand to restore him to his former health; and when he began to cry, the Lord Jesus said, "Cease crying, for hereafter thou shalt be my disciple." And this is that Simon the Canaanite, who is mentioned in the Gospel.

(500 words)

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