Jesus is Hilarious


Abby Norman -Jesus is Hilarious3

I wish someone told me how funny God is. And I don’t just mean lame pastor joke funny. I mean hysterical. Laugh out loud, long set up, OH MY WORD DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN funny. Y’all. I had no idea.

When I was in the third or fourth grade my mom went on an Emmaus walk. I remember this mostly because I remember the little tokens she brought home to remind her of her time there. She kept them in a top drawer mostly, but there was a picture of Jesus she stuck in her mirror above the favorite baby pictures of me and my sisters. This picture of Jesus was like nothing I had ever seen before. The reason my mom loved that picture was because she felt the same way. In this picture, Jesus was smiling. Not just a “smiling with my eyes, looking nicely and softly at a child,” but, like … really smiling. Really, actually smiling, like I-am-about-to-laugh-out-loud-from-the-delight-of-being-with-you-because-I-actually-really-like-you-and-being-with-you-makes-me-laugh kind of smiling.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the felt boards or the stained-glass windows or the pictures in the kids’ Bible, but when I picture Jesus, he always looks so … serious. It never really occurred to me that Jesus was funny, that God’s messages could be delivered a little less like Dan Rather on the nightly news and a little more like John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. But Jesus being a crack-up to make a point is well within the Hebrew tradition of a prophet.

Hosea named his children things that in today’s world would be translated as things like “my daddy don’t like me” and “my momma thinks I’m ugly” That for sure will lead to some awkward conversations the first day of school. Other Old Testament prophets built tiny cities and crushed them, or lay on their side for a few years. It was early performance art, and sometimes it was funny.

Recently, someone re-told me the story of Jesus entering the city on a donkey. Y’all. This was likely hilarious. He requested a donkey short enough that his feet were dragging on the floor. He requested a donkey that had never been ridden before. Take away the serene Jesus you remember from the storybook who is regal and on a very calm donkey. Replace him with a Jesus who is scuttling his feet above a bucking donkey who has no idea what is going on because he has never been ridden before. Then people are shouting that he is the highest king in the land. He looks like an idiot. If humor is when your expectations are replaced with the unexpected, then Jesus totally nails it.

I need a savior who can laugh.

Sometimes this world is downright absurd. Sometimes justice is best served with a laugh track. God invented laughter. Jesus was hilarious.