Rowan Atkinson did a sketch years ago where he tried to lampoon Christianity. If you’re a religious-type person, he probably succeeded. In it he plays the part of a minister of indeterminate origin somewhat haphazardly speaking at a service. At the end he tells the audience to come back for the evening service (or the following week depending on the recording) when his sermon will be “Christ the Comic, Jesus the Comedian”.
If you’ve read any of my older posts (please do), you’ll be aware that I don’t exactly fit the mould of “Preacher”.
One of my favourite teachers, Andrew Wommack, said some years ago that he would be upset if people could not only tell he was a preacher, but what type of preacher when they first met him. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the mid 90s and am able to say from what I saw, he was the most normal, down to earth guy I’ve met – with the possible exception of Dave Duell, who I met the same week. Neither of them put on airs and graces or expected to be treated differently because they were “the Speaker” at the conference. I got the distinct impression chatting to them that they would have been upset if they had been afforded different treatment.
I sincerely hope I come across that way when people meet me.
I’m not even-tempered, I don’t genuflect at an altar, I get downright upset far too often in fact. Basically I’m a work-in-progress for God.
I’ve not reached perfection, and I don’t expect to this side of the grave, but I’ve begun the journey. I hope my actions reflect the Christ I serve, and my words are guided by Him rather than my own ego.
I’m not a “religious” person.
Neither was Jesus.
Jesus was outrageous. Everywhere He went there was chaos behind Him. Literally when He visited the Temple.
He shattered the pre-conceived notions people had been beaten with ever time He opened His mouth to speak. He sat and ate with sinners, tax-collectors and prostitutes. The fishermen He travelled with were not what you’d expect the first bishops to look like. I doubt any of them wore purple robes or crowns. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” may have been off on many things, but when Indie finds Spielberg’s concept of the resting place of the Holy Grail he at least has the historical integrity to show the cup of a carpenter as being a simple, unassuming and ordinary item. Kind of like Tupperware. The table at the Last Supper would not have had gold cups and silver plates.
Jesus was a King like no other before Him.
He was also real.
He had a sense of humour. Some of it I recognised myself growing up, and some of it got pointed out by reading “Beautiful Outlaw”, John Eldredge’s incredible book about the humanity of Jesus.
Oops. I’m sure some people just clicked away. Yep. Jesus was human as well as God. People forget that. Mary had to teach Him to walk, talk and use the toilet. Although possibly not in that order. He had to learn to write. Joseph had to teach Him to use carpenter’s tools.
In all ways, Jesus was as human as you and me. More so. He was human the way Adam was created.
I’m told blood-line genetics is largely determined by the father. A woman cannot produce a “Y” chromosome, so a man is required for procreation. If you have a son, ladies, it’s because somewhere around nine months before birth your egg (or his biological mother’s egg if he’s adopted) was in contact with a man. Sperm are either male or female, but eggs are always female apparently. Please let me know if a geneticist is reading this and I’m wrong – I’m just repeating what I was told in biology about 3 decades ago.
So Jesus had a Father, God, and a mother, Mary. Adam’s Father was also God.
He got His personality from His Father largely. God is no respecter of persons and I’d never accuse the Gospel of being politically correct.
Jesus called sin sin. He never held back at the people piling religious guff onto the poor, widows, orphans, or anyone else they considered “beneath” them (which was everybody).
But Jesus had a sense of humour. Like His Father.
Anyone who can read the Bible and not conclude God has a sense of humour is reading it wrong. Take Balaam. Balaam was a prophet, a man with a hotline to God. When he refused to answer said hotline, God uses a donkey to prophesy to Balaam. It’s the only recorded time God ever spoke out of His ass…
Consider Caleb. 85 years old. “Give me the mountain country”. Hebron had the fortified cities where the giants lived. Now imagine your grandfather at the age of 85 storming Omaha beach in Normandy. That’s Caleb.
Abraham was 100 years old. Sarah was 90. Isaac means “laughter”. I guess Abraham got the joke!
He meets Moses in a bush that’s burning but not burning up. Exodus says Moses’s response is ““I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”” (Exodus 3:3-4) Mike Yaconelli says this is the English translation of the Hebrew word “AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!”
“You feed them” says Jesus. The disciples look out over 5000 men and their families. Possibly 20,000 people there since they only counted the men. The most steadfast disciple would flinch, so Jesus turns to a boy with a packed lunch…
He takes a stroll to meet the boys… in a storm… over the surface of the sea…
He talks to a Samarian woman about her live-in boyfriend and sets her off into town telling everyone “Come and see a man who told me about my whole life”. I can imagine the men of the town getting nervous – and the woman, freed from her past, laughing.
Then there are the cultural “in” jokes we can miss today. He alludes to the Pharisees being shepherds. Shepherds were not highly thought of. They smelled of sheep and had a rough way about them. More Clint Eastwood than Mr Rogers. Imagine you go to church on Sunday and find the guest speaker is Dirty Harry. The general population would have been very amused. (The Pharisees less so!)
He uses a Samaritan as an example of how to behave in a Godly way.
He was born in Bethlehem but grew up and was known as a man from Nazareth. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46 emphasis mine)
The disciples don’t know which way is up a lot of the time until Jesus explains the parables.
Then look at the disciples. The 12 guys Jesus picks to start a movement to reclaim the whole of mankind from Satan’s grip after Jesus goes back to heaven.
Peter: aka Simon. Mr Swordsman himself. Passionate, clumsy, abrupt, and generally opens his mouth for the express purpose of changing feet. This is the guy anointed and appointed to be the leader of the 12.
He picks the first person to show Himself to after the Resurrection. Mary, a reformed prostitute. More, a woman. In First Century times, you didn’t make a woman your ambassador. But Jesus did. She’s the first one to declare “He is risen”.
The Gospel is good news. When the Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost, the people of Jerusalem thought the disciples had been drinking. Probably not belligerent drunks looking for a fight, but happy drunks. During the “Toronto Blessing” era in the 90s the church I was part of was marked by one thing more than any other: Laughter.
Jesus liked a party. He cracked jokes – usually at the expense of religious-types. He feasted and celebrated Life.
And we remember Him with dry bread and the world’s smallest sip of wine/juice.
I guess there’s a joke in there as well!