January 13, 2009

a sense of humor

Sometimes it is hard for me to tell if a biblical author is trying to be funny or not. I read John's account of the calling of Philip and Nathanael with my sense of humor glasses on. Imagine hearing this story in the house of a follower of Jesus 30 years or so after the Ascension.

So Jesus "decided" to go to Galilee. He runs into this guy named Philip, said, "follow me," and I'll be darned if he didn't drop what he was doing and follow him. Well, sort of. First he ran around looking for his brother Nathanael. He found him seeking enlightenment under a fig tree, whistled and said, "hey, we've found the guy that Moses and the prophets talked about, and his name is Jesus bar Joseph from... get this... Nazareth." "HA!" comes Nathanael's reply, "can anything good come from Nazareth." "Get out from under that tree and I'll show you," retorts Philip. Jesus, seeing Nathanael off in the distance, and knowing what he said about Nazoreans, yells out, tongue firmly in cheek, "Hey guys, look, here comes and Israelite in whom there is no guile [a much better word than deceit]." Nathanael, now scared to death that Jesus some how heard what he said about Nazareth asks, sheepishly, "um, dude, where'd you get to know me?" As if to say, "how long have you been listening?" "Um, dude," Jesus replies, "I saw you looking for enlightenment under that fig tree while Philip, who is supposed to be following me, was off looking for you." "Wow! OK, I'm sold, nice trick, surely you are the Son of God."

"You ain't seen nothing yet. Before this is all over you'll see the floodgates of heaven opened and blessings will be flowing like a mighty river. And don't call me Shirley."

See. It is funny.

1 comment:

Ben Rockwell said...

I'm with you on this one. I laugh when I read this passage, and you nailed it as far as the way I imagine it to have gone.