The Gospel as Comedy.

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18.12 NIV) 

Have you ever been in a situation where the only response you can give is some hearty laughter? But not because the situation is funny in a way we think of comedy. It’s not funny because of a joke or some simple slapstick humor. As a matter of fact, if you could objectively look at the situation outside of your own eyeballs, it wouldn’t even be funny at all.

Yet, in the moment, you can’t help but laugh. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the moment where words just aren’t enough. It’s the moment when you just can’t think clear thoughts. It’s the moment when it just seems too good to be true.

“Is this real?”

“Is this happening?”

“You can’t be serious.”

So, you laugh. You can’t help it. Something is happening inside your heart. Bubbling up to the surface and the only response is a chuckle. A laugh. A smile. A hope.

You see, comedy was once defined differently then it is today. In Elizabethan literature, comedy is a story with a happy ending.  The main character overcomes the oppressor and against all odds finds true love, acceptance, meaning and purpose. And so the story ends well.

This is the gospel, isn’t it?

Yes, the gospel is a story. And fortunately for us, it’s true and very real.

So, let me introduce the characters in our story. First, let’s look at the oppressor. The bad guy. The deceiver. The thief. And here is what we know about him.

“The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy…” (John 10.10) 

And he has done it. To you and me. We are broken. We have been destroyed. We have been found wanting. We are lost. Depraved. Empty. Hopeless. Useless. Evil. Unrighteous. Unholy. As a matter of fact, nothing good lives in the heart of man. We have succumbed to the cancer of the thief. And our life has literally been stolen from us. We have already been destroyed and we are headed for an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And let us be reminded.

 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.

 The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;

You destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest. (Psalm 5.4-6 NIV) 

We are indeed enemies of God. It’s a harsh reality, but it is true.

Let us meet the second character of our story.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1.1-4 NIV) 

This Word, this person who was with God in the beginning, was God’s son, Jesus, and he was born a savior (Luke 2.11).

And so God, in his infinite love and wisdom set about the work of redeeming the world. He set about the work of undoing all the thief had done. He set about the work of reconciling us, the enemies of God. Because a savior had been born.

(Are you laughing yet?)

And so Jesus takes on the iniquity of us all. He takes my sin. He takes your evil. He takes the cancer in our heart. And he pays the price. He goes to the cross. Naked. Broken. Beaten. Bleeding. Our deserved punishment becomes his reality.

And here is the worst part of it all. Jesus lived a life worthy of heaven. In fact, he was perfect. He was God. He was man. You could take his life and put it on the scale and he would have been found in right standing with God. He had earned heaven.

And yet, because you and I never could, he took it upon himself to bridge the great divide between us and heaven. And so, he was nailed to the cross, and there died. For the payment of sin is death.

And because a man who did not deserve death took on death it’s power over us is broken. Death has been defeated. The grave could not hold Jesus. And neither can it hold you.

Grace has been given. It has been extended to you and I. The thief has been destroyed and his power taken from him.

What you were powerless to do, Jesus did for you. You are destined for destruction and there is nothing you can do about it. And yet, Jesus payed the penalty and has extended grace.

No amount of good works, no amount of self improvement, no amount of anything could ever be enough. There was only one way, a sacrifice for the people. For you and me. It has been paid in full.

(Are you laughing yet?)

Let’s revisit the Psalm one more time. But this time, we will go a bit farther.

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.

The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;

you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.

But I, by your great love,
can come into your house; (Psalm 5.4-7 NIV). 

And there it is. God’s great love. His grace.

Is this real?

Is this happening?

You can’t be serious.

But I am. This is real. This is true. And it’s available to you.

And so we laugh, not because the gospel is funny, but because it is truly wonderful. And when you take the comedy of the gospel and set it next to the tragedy of the gospel, salvation is so much sweeter. You can’t have one without the other because before the gospel was good news, it was bad news.

But let’s be honest. It is really good news…

Are you laughing yet?