Last week we studied and discussed about John 20:19-29. This passage is where the resurrected Jesus appears before his disciples on Easter Sunday. We also see how Thomas behaves before and after seeing Jesus. Verses 19-20 state, ”On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. ” We eventually pondered and sought out understanding of why Jesus showed his hands and his side to his disciples. Was it a way of identifying himself? Did showing his hands and side make the disciples rejoice or was it the very fact that they saw the same bodily Jesus, but in a resurrected form? We took these thoughts and talked about wounds or marks that identify us. Here are some connections we made with wounds and the passage: 1) The mark from stitches on my right leg 2) child birth marks 3) Our “wounded” or broken world 4) The scrapped knee of a little boy. 5) A man’s back being pulled and going to his second job afterwards.
Soon after, we took the image of child birth, we discussed more deeply of how this image could relate to the text. I shared the story of what happened before my birth. My dad in the Ivory Coast spoke to me when I was in my mother’s womb. Jokingly he said, “Don’t come out.” The reason why he said that was because he saw child soldiers in the Ivory Coast and he didn’t want such a life for me. Nonetheless, I was born the next day. My dad was wounded by the political problems in the Ivory Coast, but the joy he and my mother had the day I was born could have been one way to change their perspective on life. The perspective of the disciples also changed when we look back to John 20:19-20. The disciples who hid themselves in a home from the religious leaders of their time, were comforted by Christ when he said, “Peace be with you” and they become overjoyed when they saw their Lord.
On Monday and Tuesday, I got the chance to do stand-up comedy at Comedy Works and Yuk Yuk. In both places I was entertained with the accompaniment of friends and colleagues, I have listened to and reflected on the jokes of the comedians. They have been wounded in life and in return they use their wounds, painful or hurtful events in their life to make their audience laugh. I even said jokes of how both of my names have been butchered. Yet one treasured moment in the Yuk Yuk comedy club that I shall remember is when, after the show, the host, a Christian friend and myself had a philosophical and theological discussion in the men’s restroom (the host could not get out of such a situation). Just the fact that the host and I were urinating in our own urinals and discussed about Judaism, Buddhism, pesticides, God killing babies (possibly talking about the commands God gave the Israelite to annihilate certain people in the Old Testament), sin, absolution and the belief in Jesus Christ, was funny. Before we left the club, I shared the gospel with Jason (the host), “Jason, you spoke of absolution. God looked down on you saying, “Jason, your stupid. But I love you.” God sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sins. Jesus took all your crap, even the things you talked about on stage tonight and he put it on himself. ” And with a quick reminder of my Christian friend, I made the effort to talk about how pesticides came about (I began speaking about it in the restroom), I said, “Well, before sin entered the world everything in creation was good, perfect. Sin infected the world, thus having insects like pesticides. God did not plan to have sin come into the world. It was not meant to be. Yet God has planned to restore all of creation for he is good, just and holy…So don’t blame God, blame ourselves for our disobedience.”
It is by seeing the wounded and resurrected Christ that the disciples rejoiced. It is by Christ’s wounds, his death on the cross that we have been bought back and delivered from the power of sin and we too can rejoice in such a truth. My hope is to see comedians or audience members not just laugh at jokes based on my wounds, but also hear and take in a message of healing from a representative of the risen Christ.