Sunday, March 6, 2016

Funny Jesus

Much has been written about the humor of Jesus Christ, perhaps most notably the book by D. Elton Trueblood entitled The Humor of Christ.  I have been reading the Gospel According to John this month.  Most of the examples of Jesus's playfulness, his sarcasm, his use of irony, require a bit of background and understanding of the historical and social milieu of Christ's time here on Earth.

In the first chapter of John we see a striking example of Christ's humor.
 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the  Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”   
Come and See

Here we see Philip telling Nathanael that Jesus of Nazareth is He of whom Moses wrote and Nathanael responds sneeringly "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"  This would not be an unexpected response, for Nazareth was considered to be nothing more than a mere backwater, insignificant in the societal scheme of things.  (Is this akin to the denizens of our coasts referring to our area as "fly-over country"?)

Yet Jesus took no umbrage but rather said to Nathanael "I see that you are a true Israelite in whom their is no guile." (You are a man who does not dissimulate, who speaks his mind.)  This tells the new acquaintance that Christ has no resentment toward him, but more it tells him that Jesus was acquainted with him before Nathanael knew him.  Pretty convincing and all in good humor.

Then Jesus tells Nathanael as He is telling us all, " Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

We may pursue this topic further at another time.  Meanwhile, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."  --Philippians 4:8 (ASV)

2 comments:

Vee said...

Great points. I am always enlightened when you post a Bible lesson.

vanilla said...

Vee, good. I do like to ponder things and there is so much that I don't know.