This message was offered at Lee Memorial United Methodist Church on Holy Humor Sunday, April 12, 2015.
Reading: John 20:19-31
Gracious God, in the moments to come, give me the words to speak and they the ears to hear that together, we might be inspired to not only speak but to live your Word in the world starting today. It’s in that most holy Word’s name—Jesus the Christ—we pray. Amen.
By his own admission he was a bit of a stick in the mud. He never laughed, not even when Jesus was telling the jokes. He didn’t think that was befitting of the Messiah. He was always taking things a bit too seriously. So when the disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus, he didn’t believe them. “That’s utter ridiculousness,” said Thomas sternly. “You admitted that you were in hiding, behind closed doors. How could Jesus have found you? How could he have entered the room when the door was locked?”
“I saw him crucified,” he continued. “I saw Joseph and Nicodemus put Jesus in the tomb. I saw, with my own eyes, as they struggled to seal the tomb with huge, nearby stone. He’s dead. I don’t care what Mary says. I don’t care what you think you’ve seen. ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe’ (John 20:25b, Common English Bible).’ I won’t believe it till I see it.”
The other disciples tried to convince him of what they saw, but he couldn’t fathom it. Thomas had witnessed some pretty amazing things in his travels with Jesus. He’d seen Jesus heal a blind man and cast out demons. He’d been there the day that Jesus shouted into the tomb and Lazarus—who had been dead for four days—walked out. But, he’d never seen Jesus do anything for himself. All of Jesus’ miracles were for other people. Thomas had never seen Jesus perform a miracle on or for himself, so it was simply inconceivable that Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, would raise himself up.
The disciples gathered together each night to check-in with one another and share a meal together. Each night—for seven nights—they tried to convince him. Then it happened. It was the eighth day. They were all together, including Thomas. The doors were locked. Jesus entered the room, no one noticed him till he spoke: “Peace be with you.” Everyone was startled. Thomas’ jaw nearly hit the table. Jesus addressed Thomas, “Come here. See the holes in my hands and side. Look at my hands. Put your hand in the hole in my side. Stop your disbelief. Believe!”
Thomas looked at the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet. He saw the hole from the soldier’s spear in Jesus’ side. He finally got it and he started to laugh hysterically. Then he looked up and said, “Jesus Holey Christ!”
Jesus cracked a smile. Peter was confused, “What?”
“Jesus Holey Christ!” laughed Thomas. He pointed to the holes in Jesus’ hands, feet, and side. “Get it: holey Christ!”
It was the first joke any of them had ever heard Thomas say. They all laughed. Who knew he was so funny? While the disciples laughed to the point of tears, Thomas looked back up at Jesus, “You are my Lord and my God!” Jesus looked down and smiled. “You believe because you see me,” Jesus said. “But true joy and happiness will be had by those who don’t see and yet believe” (see John 20:29).
“But how will they believe if they don’t see?” asked Thomas.
“Just tell them the greatest joke ever,” said Jesus, “so that people might boldly proclaim, ‘Jesus H. Christ:’ that’s Jesus Holy Christ.” Jesus laughed.
It is the greatest joke ever told. But, these aren’t it.
What animal could Noah not trust on the ark?
Did you know there’s a hymn for just about every profession?
The Dentist’s favorite hymn: Crown Him with Many Crowns (the Lamb upon his throne…)
The Contractor’s hymn: The Church’s One Foundation (is Jesus Christ her Lord…)
The Tailor’s hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy (Lord God Almighty!)
The Politician’s hymn: Standing on the Promises (that cannot fail…[v.2])
The Optometrist’s hymn: Open My Eyes, That I May See (glimpses of truth thou hast for me…)
The IRS Agent’s hymn: I Surrender All (I surrender all…)
The Gossiper’s hymn: Pass It On (It only takes a spark to get a fire going…)
The Massage Therapist’s hymn: He Touched Me (Oh, he touched me…)
Did you know that photons (the things that make up light) have mass?
Yep. They’re Catholic.
Did you know that the first baseball game was recorded in the Bible?
In the big inning. Eve stole first, Adam stole second. Cain struck out Abel, and the Prodigal Son came home. The Giants and the Angels were rained out.
Tennis is also mentioned in the Bible: Joseph served in Pharoah’s Court.
Why was Moses the most wicked man?
He broke all 10 commandments at once.
Christians seem so preoccupied with getting to heaven that they forget how easy it is to enter into Paradise.
All you do is turn right and go straight.
How do we know Abraham was smart?
He knew a Lot.
Why couldn’t Cain please God with his offering?
He just wasn’t Abel.
As silly as these jokes might be: they have nothing on the greatest joke: and it’s a one liner too. It’s a joke that can make you laugh when all seems dark; a joke that can make you laugh in the face of your deepest sorrows and burdens; a joke that can make you taunt even death itself. The greatest joke ever told: Christ is risen.
Dear friends, “Death has been swallowed up by a victory. Where is your victory, Death? Where is your sting, Death? Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54d-55, 57, Common English Bible).
25 He was handed over because of our mistakes, and he was raised to meet the requirements of righteousness for us.
5:1 Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope. 5 This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. 7 It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 4:25-5:8, Common English Bible)
He was raised for us. Christ has died and Christ is risen! It’s the greatest joke ever told. May we never forget it; and may we never forget to laugh.
Let us pray,
God, it has been said that you are a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. Help us not to be afraid. Help us not to take ourselves too seriously that we miss the greatest joke ever told: the joke first told on that first Easter morning. Remind us that nothing can separate us from your love. Help us to laugh and be foolish. We pray in the name of the fool who taught us to laugh, the one in whom our hope is secure, Jesus, the Holy Christ. Amen.
 As quoted at < http://www.skywriting.net/inspirational/humor/religious_one_liners.html> Accessed April 12, 2015.