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May 21, 2006

Jesus Laughed. But Why?

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

Jesus laughed! That is the statement that brought me to read the Gospel of Judas. This parchment was dug out of a safety deposit box and then printed in a huge media blitz just before Easter by the National Geographic Society.

I really can't figure out why they connected the despised traitor with the glories of the resurrection, but anything to peddle books. Talk about needing to be thrown out of the temple!

I turned a deaf ear to the commentaries about this Gospel because I wanted to find out what it said to me personally. Being a humor writer, I wanted to know what made Jesus laugh. What was the joke? Who told it?

The disciples were all seated around a table in pious observance. They started to pray.

Jesus approached them and laughed. "What are you laughing about," they asked.

Jesus replied "I am not laughing at you. You are not doing this because of your own will but because it is through this your God will be praised."

Not much of a punch line. But to me he was using humor to get a reaction to make them think about things. Like a teenager mowing the lawn. Is he doing this to make Dad happy or for the $20 bucks?

Are we taking mom to a restaurant because we want to give her a break from cooking, or because we also want to have an out meal? Would we still do it if there were no $20 bucks or Mom wanted to go to the Fish Head Soup Café?

That night Jesus disappeared and when he returned they asked him where he had been.

"I went to another great and holy generation" he replied.

"Where is that," they asked.

He laughed. "Basically you have to die to get there and then the humor lies in the [.]." The punch line is missing - or cannot be translated. (Remember this is an old and tattered 3 A.D. piece of papyrus.)

The joke is on us because we thought there would be an answer. We have to look deep within ourselves to come up with the mystery of fill in the blanks. I hate those kinds of quizzes. I prefer matching instead, especially when there are no extras on the matching side.

Judas said" "I have seen a great vision."

Jesus laughed and said: "Why do you try so hard, but speak up and I shall listen."

This is no different than a youngster telling a teacher he had seen a flying car. The teacher laughs and says tell me about it.

Jesus laughs at what Judas says he has seen, but he takes the time to explain and educate him. A technique I have used many times in teaching.

The third part where Jesus laughed has stars and combatants who are wandering around who will be destroyed along with their creatures. It also has a lot of [.] and sentences like "six lines missing," so a humorous interpretation is all but impossible.

But my joy is in knowing Jesus laughed regardless of my or anyone else's interpretation.

A comment about the Da Vinci Code movie that opened Friday:

I wonder if Jesus went around singing:

If I were a carpenter

and you were a lady,

Would you marry me anyway?

Would you have my baby?

If I worked my hands in wood,

Would you still love me?

Answer me babe, "Yes I would,

I'll put you above me."

I would like to think so.

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