They are “inane, worthless, meaningless, boring, and have no bearing on the story as a whole. They’re pointless details”. So say they. What do they–the ambiguous they–speak of in such terms? Details in Scripture such as John the Baptist eating locusts, Jesus sleeping on a cushion (as opposed to wood), the hour of a day, etc.. At the risk of sounding arrogant, to people who look at Sacred Scripture on the surface only, such things are just unnecessary filler. They might as well not be there.
But wait! As Yoda would say, “Look deeper you must! There are no things unnecessary, only things unnecessary in your mind!”
Oh….Come to think of it, I don’t remember Yoda saying that. Whatever, though. The quote works. Let’s roll with it. It can be a secret between you and me and Lucasfilm will never hear about it.
Let’s take the statement that John the Baptist eats locusts (I’m sure his breath was great, especially in the morning). To most, this is an unnecessary–and possibly grotesque–detail, and all people can do is wonder, “Why on Earth is that in there? Thanks for the image.” Well, consider how gross that is. John, “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15), renounced the world. He was willing to eat gross food if it meant the furthering of his spiritual well-being. Just like any saint, he was probably practicing mortification. I doubt he ate locusts because they were a favorite on the dinner menu.
Then there’s that seemingly pointless declaration from Mark 4:38 that Jesus was in the boat, get this, not only sleeping, but sleeping–that’s right–on a CUSHION. Crazy! Man, He’s wild.
But seriously. Why’s that tidbit included?
Look at the context: there was a storm. The apostles were nervous, not at ease, while Jesus was asleep, on a cushion. Cushions are soft and used to sleep well and relax. A sign, if you will, of tranquility. In this case, a sign of Jesus’ tranquility and calmness despite the storm outside. He kept His cool and something as random as a cushion can help to illustrate this point.
Anyway, just a thought. Don’t brush stuff like this off when you find it. Give it some thought.