Friday, 5 March 2010


This is a double post in that there is a ten minute video of Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill church and an article by Pastor Randy Stiver of Oregon in the United States. They both give a different perspective than the one commonly held by Christians and non Christians alike that Jesus didn't have a sense of humour.AK
The Humour of Jesus Christ
"I would read the Bible more," a young woman recently told me, "if it were just more interesting .
. . maybe, more humorous." How about you? Most people don't realize that Jesus, the great Teacher and Messiah, was often quite funny, even pointedly so.

The fact is that we have often developed a false pattern of Christ's character. Though we do not always say so directly, we habitually think of Him as mild in manner, endlessly patient, grave in speech, and serious almost to the point of dourness" (Elton Trueblood, The Humor of Christ, p. 16).

Wow . . . boring. That makes Christ sound like a dry and boring professor teaching "Invertebrate Studies of the Precambrian Era" every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 a.m. Good thing it isn't true!

When you get to know the true Jesus Christ, who He really was and is, it will amaze you. Suddenly He has personality, zest, brilliant hilarity, sparkling intellect—so incredibly bright He makes us glow like dim bulbs by comparison.

Pointedly foolish

An oxymoron is a conceptual wordplay that uses seemingly contradictory words or phrases, like "cruel kindness" or "make haste slowly." It's a Greek word that literally means pointedly foolish or humorous.

Jesus often popped balloons of absurd and foolish arguments and actions of others, using the pointedly humorous pinprick of a sharp oxymoron. Here's the story of one of His favorites: "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (Matthew 23:24).

How can you help but chuckle and groan imagining someone opening wide enough to swallow a huge humpy camel?

Then there's the oxymoron: "blind guides." Get it? How can a blind person guide another person? Blind and guide don't naturally fit together—it's funny! OK, so it's not smack-you-in-the-face, belly-laugh, punch-line funny. It's more like, "Oooh, that's a good one. What did the other guys say to bring that on?" We chuckle and think at the same time. Christ used the "blind guides" oxymoron several times. Let's find out why.

Religious leaders historically have a bad habit of taking themselves too seriously. This is a recipe for various levels of fanaticism even today in all religions of the world, including Christianity as well as the basically godless religion of "Political Correctness." The religious leaders of Jesus' day were of this ilk and their fanaticism blinded them to the truth to the point that they refused to see themselves as fallible human beings. They had no sense of humor.

"Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 'Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.' He answered and said to them, 'Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?'" (Matthew 15:1-3).

The Pharisees and scribes had a ceremony of washing their hands before eating, not for cleanliness like your mother taught you to do, but as a symbol of how inherently righteous they personally were. God did not command this type of washing. Instead, they made it up and considered it equal with the written Scripture.

How arrogant is that?

Appearing good, not being good

Jesus then took them to task for sinning by not caring for their own aging parents. He called them hypocrites who liked the appearance of goodness but didn't like to actually do good. He said their worship was, therefore, worthless.

Later Christ was told that His confrontation had offended the Pharisees. Generally, people who take personal offense at those who disagree with them lack a healthy sense of humor; they're basically insecure. And that's when Jesus lowered the pointedly humorous, oxymoronic boom as simultaneous instruction and enjoyment for His disciples:

"Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (Matthew 15:14). Blind leaders are the same as blind guides. Picture this: The disciples smile and nod knowingly. They got the point.

What can we learn from this humor strategy of Jesus—the best Professor?

• Take God's truth and law seriously.
• You must do good to be good.
• Don't take yourself too seriously.
• Good humor can deflate arrogant arguments. VT

Randy Stiver is the pastor of United Church of God congregations in Coos Bay, Eugene and Roseburg, Oregon.


Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks I got a translation from Bing translater!

gary said...

Of course he chose us didn't he!

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

As an orientalist and one interested in China missions, I too ran the Chinese comment thru a machine translator. When I have received Chinese comments (two in the recent past) they turned out to be invites to Asian porn, and I deleted them quickly, lest anyone visiting my blog Ikonostasis should follow them up. This brother just left you a token of praise, which is good. What I thought interesting is, the characters he uses as his name are read Diànnǎo and almost sound like the name Daniel, but they actually mean "computer"! The biblical name Daniel is written 但以理 in Chinese and pronounced Dànyǐlǐ, so I guess there was no pun intended. There wasn't anything at his blog yet, so perhaps he's just starting it.

As to your topic, it is a form of latent Gnosticism, isn't it, that Christians in all times and ages have had a difficult time getting used to Jesus as a Man with all that it implies.

Jesus Christ is the θεανθρωπος, theánthropos, the "God-Man" as we call Him in the Greek Orthodox Church. We are eager to confess Him as Lord and God, but we sometimes don't know how to be comfortable with Him as Man. I notice that many of the trends in modern evangelical worship tend to make the experience not far removed in atmosphere from a club or coffeehouse. This shocks the Orthodox, but we return the favor by shocking our liturgically antipodal brethren with our over-the-top ceremonialism. Touché!

Worship is how we relate to the God half of the indivisible God-Man, but everything else about our Christian life needs to proceed from our relationship to the Man half of that same, unique Being. Why? Because He has somehow taken up our humanity with Him into the Godhead, so that the Holy Triad should no longer seem alien to us, as we are indwelt by Him and live in Them.

Jesus the Man had a sense of humor, as we can see if we read the gospels without a religious predisposition. In fact, His attitude toward religion itself was sometimes quite humorous.

It is because the Church throughout much of her history has been in bondage to religious spirits rather than in manly relationship with the Saviour that all kinds of atrocities have been committed in His name—wars, persecutions, tortures, you name it. Nothing that satan hasn't tried outside the Church hasn't also been tried inside her—not by Christians, of course, but by the bad seed that the enemy has planted there.

When we meet the saints of today, those who, as Martin Luther said, "canonize themselves," we find human beings who are fully human and yet partake of the Divine Nature in some way we cannot quite fathom, but whatever it is they have, we want, that is, if we really want Jesus. Otherwise, the saints are merely an annoyance at best or an embarrassment and conviction at worst.

Following Jesus, we can laugh at the world and its schemes and threats, because He defeated it on the Cross and defeats it in us who believe and follow Him every day.

But there is a time for laughter, and a time to be serious, even solemn, and there too, let Jesus the God-Man show us the way. Let's worship Him as did His disciple John the Revelator, in fear and awe, but let's also walk with Him as did His disciples on that road to Emmaus, except, unlike them, let us recognize Him right away.

Thanks for this post!

Andrew Kenny said...

Romanos,thanks again for your knowledge and insight which never ceases to amaze me! If I was an Orthodox Christian I would want you to be the Patriarch!

Jonathan James Verwer said...

Yesterday I listened to mark driscolls I cant remember Which one it was i think it was called > Special Putting preachers in their... thats all it says but if I have it right he was talking out of the book of amos and he really brought out the sarcasm that Jesus used and the bible uses. Really Really funny.
3 hours ago ·

Rageagainstthemachine said...

Pull my finger! Brilliant. Driscol is the man!