My good friend Rev. Joe McKeever asked his nearly 5,000 Facebook friends what they think is the funniest thing in the Bible. From their comments, and with Brother Joe’s permission, here are their Top Five Funny Stories in the Bible:
No. 5. When an angel let the apostle Peter out of prison, Peter went to the house where the church was praying for his release and knocked on the door. The servant girl Rhoda answered, and when she saw it was Peter, she was so excited that she ran back inside and told everybody their prayers were answered, but she forgot to let Peter in. They told her she was crazy, but Peter kept knocking at the door until they realized to stop praying and start celebrating (Acts 12:11-16). Lesson: If you pray, expect God to answer.
No. 4. Seven “sons of Sceva,” Jewish exorcists, had heard that Paul was casting out demons, so they tried to cast out a demon “in the name of Jesus, who Paul preaches.” The demon said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” Then the demon-possessed man pounced on all seven of them and chased them out of the house, naked and bleeding (Acts 19:13-17). Lesson: Don’t try to use Jesus’ name for your own purposes.
No. 3. A youth named Eutychus was sitting in an open window, listening to Paul preach. But Paul preached for so long that Eutychus fell asleep and fell out the window! Thankfully, Paul stopped preaching and picked him up, and the boy was OK (Acts 20:8-10). Lesson: Actions speaker louder than words.
No. 2. Elijah, the prophet of Yahweh, had a contest with 450 prophets of the false god, Baal. The contest was to see which God would answer their prayer and consume their sacrifice. The Lord immediately consumed Elijah’s sacrifice, but he let the prophets of Baal go first. They danced and sang for hours, and even cut themselves, trying to get the attention of their god, with no result. Finally, Elijah made fun of them, saying that maybe Baal was asleep, or on a journey, or “relieving himself” on the toilet (1 Kings 18:27). Lesson: Ain’t no God like our God.
No. 1. The prophet Balaam seems a bit too eager to go prophesy over Israel to get money from Israel’s enemies, so the angel of the Lord blocks his path. His donkey sees the angel, but Balaam doesn’t, and the donkey sits down in the road. When Balaam beats the donkey, the donkey talks! The donkey says, “What wrong have I ever done to you?” If that isn’t funny enough, it seems even funnier that Balaam replies to the animal! Then God opens Balaam’s eyes and he realizes the donkey saved his life (Numbers 22:27-30). Balaam ends up blessing Israel instead of cursing them. Lesson: God may speak to you in ways you never expected.
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)