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Laughing at Jesus

“And they laughed at him.”

They laughed at Jesus.

The girl was dead, and they knew it. And they also knew what dead meant: dead means dead.

But Jesus had other ideas.

The dad had told her: she’s dead. But the man also confessed: lay your hand on her, and she will live.

With that, the tide began to turn. A moment of inaugurated eschatology began to dawn. Not-dead was already beginning to intrude upon the present.

And so when Jesus shows up, he tells the mourners to go home.

She’s asleep, he says.

“And they laughed at him.”

Of all the reactions to Jesus that gain traction with folks, of all the conflicts that we look at to pinpoint where Jesus brings the good and the new into the broken and the old, I rarely hear about this one.

The foolishness of the gospel did not begin with the cross. It began with Jesus claiming that the surest things of this world are no longer sure once the reign of God has begun to dawn.

The foolishness of the gospel begins when the things we know most clearly to be determined by the course of the world and its laws and power bump up against the almost casual, “I don’t think so” of the son of God.

And it has me wondering: where is it that I laugh? Where am I condescending toward the simple faith of people who trust that God will work in situations that I would never invoke God for?

Where do I laugh at God by taking the world in all of the power of its brokenness too seriously?

Perhaps the laughter of derision, directed at the impossible, needs to be directed at the sure. Perhaps faith in this son of God means taking God’s power to over overcome the world with greater seriousness than we take the world’s power to entangle and enslave.

It is not an optimistic vision, but it is an idealistic one. It’s an idealism created and perpetuated by the ideal Human enacting God’s reign as God always desired.

If the obvious impossibility of a world-inverting vision directs us toward other ideas about what the Christian faith is about, we probably need to ask if we aren’t bowed beneath the weight of the obvious, and deaf to the divine “I don’t think so.”

We probably need to ask if we might be laughing at Jesus.

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4 thoughts on “Laughing at Jesus

  1. Great thoughts and thank you for sharing this Realization. As noted, He turned (turns) the world concepts upside down and inside out from things appear to be the way they are because that’s what they are to things are the way they are because they are not the way they appear to be. A similar idea is that when I want or ‘need’ to do things the way I want to do them, how often are we spitting in his face? Spitting in the face of a Reality I do not always understand by being disobedient…or as one In Christ, it would be even a ‘slap in the face’ to The Gift with many Promises that is offered in order to ‘get by doing’ rather than ‘give by having received’ and receive by Giving.

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