Day 27: Jesus at the Improv

Luke 6:39-49

Common English Bible (CEB)

 39 Jesus also told them a riddle. “A blind person can’t lead another blind person, right? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Disciples aren’t greater than their teacher, but whoever is fully prepared will be like their teacher. 41 Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s or sister’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Brother, Sister, let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You deceive yourselves! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye. 43 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit, nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. 44 Each tree is known by its own fruit. People don’t gather figs from thorny plants, nor do they pick grapes from prickly bushes. 45 A good person produces good from the good treasury of the inner self, while an evil person produces evil from the evil treasury of the inner self. The inner self overflows with words that are spoken.

 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do what I say? 47 I’ll show what it’s like when someone comes to me, hears my words, and puts them into practice. 48 It’s like a person building a house by digging deep and laying the foundation on bedrock. When the flood came, the rising water smashed against that house, but the water couldn’t shake the house because it was well built. 49 But those who don’t put into practice what they hear are like a person who built a house without a foundation. The floodwater smashed against it and it collapsed instantly. It was completely destroyed.”

 

One of the blessings of having 4 different versions of the Gospel is that you get to see Jesus from 4 different perspectives. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, while all authoritative, see and interpret the teachings of Jesus in their own ways.

John is hellbent on getting you to believe in Jesus, and that Jesus is God. John just doesn’t understand why anyone can’t see that Jesus is the light of the world, the son of the father, yadda yadda yadda. As a result, Jesus just comes off as angry almost all the time.

 

 

Luke, on the other hand, makes Jesus seem very believable, at least in this passage. Jesus isn’t just God, he’s also a human. In fact, he rather likes people. He’s giving a sermon. He’s accessible. He’s using the language of the people, speaking in examples, images, and yes, even jokes.

 

I think that’s a part of Jesus people forget. We always focus on just one aspect of Jesus, but we forget that Jesus was a 3-dimensional, living, breathing person. Jesus was kind of funny, when he wanted to be. I mean, this part comes right after that whole “love your enemies” kick. Jesus lightens the mood by telling people to get a log out of your eye.

Best kid ever.

That’s actually pretty funny. So is telling people about a house built without a foundation, the first thing you do when you build a house. He’s trying to engage people’s imagination, get them thinking, and people think more when you’re telling jokes. That’s why comedy is such a powerful tool.

Comedy is thought provoking. Indeed, it is provocative. It gets people to do stuff, more than just telling people to do stuff. It’s bringing people around to your way of thinking. It’s persuasive. It’s accessible.

A fuller treatment of the humor of Jesus is given in countless books, and here’s an article that illustrates the point in a different way.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/28558-jesus-was-funnier-than-we-think

Personally, I’m grateful for this. I like being humorous. I like to laugh, and point out the absurdity in all of this, especially after yesterday’s post. I need to laugh; we need to laugh. It’s therapeutic as much as it is thought provoking.  I can’t stand people who can’t laugh at themselves, and recognize life for more than being just doom and gloom. Life is silly. Life is absurd. Life has beauty and joy, and if we ignore that, well I don’t think we’re very human.

Lent is a time of self examination, and if we only see the sin in ourselves, we are denying the beauty and goodness God created us with. I don’t deny that humans are broken, but those broken bits are still beautiful We’re still God’s children, fearfully and wonderfully made, and that should give us joy. If we can’t laugh about ourselves, we won’t learn about ourselves. If we can’t laugh about it, we still have that log in our eye.

I think it’s time we had a log-ectomy.

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About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He is also a commissioned elder in the United Methodist Church, and Senior Pastor at Hemphill First United Methodist Church and Pineland United Methodist Church. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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One Response to Day 27: Jesus at the Improv

  1. matthewhyde says:

    Thanks for this – it’s one of the forgotten parts of Jesus’s ministry. We all solemnly listen to sermons on the parables and forget that, while he was a great teacher, Jesus was also pretty funny and satirical…

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