Food for Thought-The Original King of Comedy

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1. Jesus was the king of irony. He was the 1st century master of irony. In fact, I believe no one was practicing irony north of Samaria until Jesus was born. Take this one example, where he turns Peter’s name into a pun of sorts.

Matthew 16:18 “and upon this rock I will build my church.” Peter’s name, in Greek, means “rock”. Petros is the Greek word for rock. The irony is that Peter wasn’t always the picture of rock like stability and permanence. He could be impulsive, impetuous, and in a tight situation you never knew if he’d have your back. This, for the early Christian readers of Matthew’s gospel (50 or so years after the death of Jesus), would have definitely garnered more than a chuckle. Jesus is poking fun at himself. It’s self-deprecating humor.

2. Jesus was the king of the one-liners. The Pharisees were perpetually attempting to trap him with complex and convoluted theological arguments. They lived for any “gotcha” moment that might show contradictions between Jesus’ teaching and established doctrine.

In Matthew 22:21, he tells the Pharisees, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” It’s the classic zinger. There’s no comeback.

3. Jesus was the king of making absurdly funny statements. He did this all the time. Our problem is that we have become so detached from the text and the context of who this man was and what he was trying to say, we’ve lost the ability to hear the laughter.

It’s easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. (A comment on wealth but what a funny image!)

The blind leading the blind. (Directed to the religious leaders of his day the image is straight out of a Monty Python sketch.)

4. Jesus loves ludicrous and absurd images. In this, I call him the king of satire.

What fool would place a lamp “under a bushel basket or under a bed and not on the lampstand?” (Mk 4:21)

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