I had a chance to attend the Willow Creek Church Leadership Summit at Lima Community Church last week and a mainstay at the event is comedian Michael Jr. If you haven’t seen him, google his name right now. You won’t be disappointed!
He talked about how comedians have two parts to their jokes: a set-up and a punchline. The punchline often goes in a different direction than the audience expected, which makes the joke funny.
We saw a setup and punchline for Minster grad Eli Wolf, who was thought he was going to be in a drill against older brother Ethan but was then awarded a scholarship after being a walk-on for the University of Tennessee Football team. Check out the video.
I love how Jesus often did the same thing. His followers thought He would do one thing and He did something different.
One time, a bunch of guys brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus but the house He was teaching at was so packed, they couldn’t get in. These guys just wanted their friend to be better, so they climbed onto the roof, made a hole, and lowered him down.
What was Jesus response? “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
If I were one of the friends, probably still on the roof trying to see and hear what was going on, I would have been like, “What did He say? Jesus, just make him better! Heal my friend!” And Jesus probably would have looked up at me and said, “Patience.”
Because He did end up healing the guy physically, but He used this amazing act of some friends faith, to teach a bigger lesson in the process.
“But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7“What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
8Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.”Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11“Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
12And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” (Mark 2: 6-12)
Next time God does something that you didn’t expect or understand, know that there is a reason behind it. And His punchline will bring more than just a few smiles.