Today I was teaching about John the Baptist in Sunday School class at the Deaf church. He is not the John who wrote the book of John nor First, Second and Third John or the book of The Revelation. John, the author, is the one we refer to as Saint John.
John the Baptist however was a cousin to Jesus and was his “forerunner.” He went around preaching that Jesus was coming. John attracted some attention. The Bible says that he dressed in camel skins and ate locusts and wild honey.
The insect that the Bible calls locusts are what I called grasshoppers when I was growing up. I think that is pretty common in the US. Wikipedia has a pretty good article about locusts and shows that they are capable of the destruction of “biblical proportions” that has been attributed to them.
In Spanish the word for locusts (or grasshopper) is langosta. If you are up on your seafood in various languages, you will know that langosta is lobster as well. I did my best to describe lobsters for them. Though they are teens and fairly well educated, they are Deaf and do not know all the names of animals that do not affect their lives regularly. After my great description of a lobster and they knew what I was talking about, I asked them if they liked lobster / langosta. Basically…no. It was “OK,” but nothing too exciting for them.
I then told them that what John the Baptist was eating was not lobster anyway. He was eating an insect by the name langosta. They did not know what it could be. So, I pulled out some pictures that I had of grasshoppers. They got excited. One blurted out (in signs), “Oh! Those are really good. Especially with chocolate!” They not only knew what they were, but could tell how best to eat them!
After we were done being grossed out and amused by their excitement I said that John probably did not eat them with chocolate. But the Bible does say that he ate wild honey. So perhaps he dipped his grasshoppers in the honey instead.
Just because we don’t understand something that the Bible says, does not make it untrue or unbelievable. Maybe from our perspective we cannot wrap our heads around it, but it may just be a matter of experiencing a new culture to get an understanding.