Friday, June 11, 2010

How Jesus Handled Stress, Pt 2. Have a Sense of Humor

Jesus was a funny guy. I know that seems contrary to a lot of depictions of him, but an honest reading of the Gospels certainly leads to that conclusion. And since we’re dealing with stress, consider the jokes he made at the expense of the religious elite that were bumming him out:

"You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:24
Consider this for a moment. Jesus is describing the intense lengths to which the Pharisees & rabbis go to not eat something non-kosher. Imagine them sifting through every plate of food-- every quare millimeter--with a strainer, so as to catch the smallest of flying insects. Now, having purified their meal, secure that there is not even a hint of gnat in their bowl of hummus, they proceed to put a big fork-ful of camel cutlet into their mouths and chew heartily! Yum! That’s kind of like picking the cheese off the ham sandwich: “Ah! Now it’s kosher!”

He uses a similar image in the next verse, accusing them of washing off the outside of the bowl or cup and declaring it clean for use again!

“But it’s growing green fuzz!”

“Don’t worry. I washed it off!”

“Yeah, but the mold was on the inside!”

 "And again I say to you, 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." Matthew 19:24
How do you get a camel through the eye of a needle? With a blender and eye-dropper, I suppose.

Envision two people working on this one: The woman of the house is holding the needle up to the camel’s nose, while her husband throws all his weight behind the beast, grunting loud enough to drown out the skreeling of the stubborn thing, as he tries to shove the largest animal in ancient Palestine through the smallest conceivable opening!

“Ed, Honey, I think were making some headway with Wilbur! We got three of his whiskers through already!”

Maybe, as I’ve suggested before, they get the head and neck through, somehow, but are caught on the hump. Trust me on this one, camels are just funny. “Watch out! They spit!” “P-tooie!”

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13
“SLAM!” you shut the heavy iron door behind you. Dusting off your hands, you say to yourself, “Well, none of that riff-raff got in to God’s Kingdom today. I made sure of that! Sure, I didn’t make it in, either, but at least I kept THEM out!” Good job, Numbskull!

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-- mint, dill and cummin.” Matthew 23:23a
Tiny, tiny seeds. In a large, flat bowl. Picking them out, one-by-one: “Six, seven, eight, nine for me. And one for God!

“How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:4
“Here, let me get that piece of sawdust out of your eye.”

“Ow! You hit me with that 2x4 on your face!”


"To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.' ” Luke 7:31-32
Ever watched little kids playing grownup?

“Let’s play wedding!”

“Nah! I don’t want to. Let’s play funeral!”

“No, that’s stupid!”

There’s just no pleasing some people. These bold, “wise” men who opposed Jesus–he compares ‘em to little rug rats! Complete with high squeaky voices, I bet.

Life got you down? Laugh a little at your circumstances or the people sucking the life out of you, and feel the stress begin to melt away.

Pt 1 of the series here.

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