Was Jesus a Standup Comic?


Dare I ask, “Was Jesus a standup comic?” The Gospels paint a portrait of Jesus as over-flowing with humor and wit, full of irony and satire, and over the edge with mocking exaggerations. Can you just picture in your mind’s eye the cartoon caricatures Jesus created, such as the “blind leading the blind and both falling into the ditch”! Or how about “straining out a gnat, but swallowing a camel”? Or better still, consider “having a log in your eye while trying to remove a splinter from another’s eye”.

Jesus told Peter that you should forgive a friend – not seven times – but 70 times 7 (ie, 490 times). To his followers, he posed the following question: “With all your worrying, which of you can add 18 inches to your height?” To the religious leaders, Jesus stated, “You are so careful to polish the outside of the bowl, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed.”

Jesus used extreme illustrations over and over. “If a child asks his father for bread, will he be given a rock instead? If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not.” To the wealthy, Jesus created this exaggerated image: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” Or how about a cartoon of swine in the mud and the caption: “Don’t give pearls to the swine. They will just trample the pearls.”

Jesus was a master story-teller. Through his imagination, he created vivid parables and fables, so that his listeners would get the picture, and not soon forget it

“Beware of the false teachers who come to you in sheep’s clothing, (a wool sweater?), but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn-bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?”

“How should I picture the people of this age? They’re like little children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to other children: ‘We played a tune on the flute for you, but you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song, but you didn’t beat your breasts.’” Can you hear Jesus uttering this rendition in a passive voice? Of course not! He would be melodramatic, would he not? Most expressive indeed!

Are you aware of this side of Jesus’ personality? Do you see him as a real human person … dishing out clever stories of humor and wit with those around him? Do you suppose he still has a sense of humor?

Authored by Reverend Virgil Brewer at Unity Chapel
July 1, 2010

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