New Testament: Now with more Mercy!

And I saith unto thee… WRONG.

So the other day I was reading the Bible. And I noticed something.

In the Book of Matthew and the Book of Mark, Jesus comes across as, well, kind of a butt. He is always correcting people and harshing people, and then he takes a short break to feed people, and then he goes right back to telling everybody what they’re doing wrong.

Then I got to the Book of John, and there he is totally funny and cool. He is like a George Clooney Jesus. And he talks to this Samaritan woman at a well, and is all like, “What would your husband think about that?” And she is all like, “I do not have a husband,” and Jesus is all like, “Yeah, huh, you had five in the past, but the dude you’re with now isn’t your husband at all, is he?” And she’s all like, “Dag, you are a prophet.”

John 3:9-19, Tory’s Slightly Sacriligeous Translation. It is actually funnier in the real thing, because of the woman’s totally deadpan reaction.

Anyway. I have a theory why Jesus, author of the Sermon on the Mount, savior of all mankind, embodiment of God comes across as such a butt in the other books: out of everything your boss ever said to you, you remember the corrections best.

This pertains to the Shame Tales phenomenon I described earlier. The stories you tend to remember and repeat are the ones whose repetitions allow you to work off some shame mojo. Oh, man, disciples, you remember that time we were all like, hey, you should sell that ointment and give the money to the poor? And Jesus was all like, “Ye have the poor always with you”? That was sooooo embarrassing.

And that has been your unexpected Bible lesson for the day.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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4 Responses

  1. Tory says:

    It was because John drank all the beer and was like “parables, shmarables.”

    New Testament times, like ours, had lots of dudes named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And by “lots” I mean “none until King James gave everybody white people names.”

  2. Dudes being Matty, Marksalot, The Lukenator, and John. John didn’t get a nickname cause everyone thought he was a tool.

  3. Tory says:

    I am curious as to what you mean by “dudes in question.” Nonetheless —

    1) It stands to reason whoever was handing down the tales handed them down in order of sheepishness.

    2) Of course you start writing things down 30 years after the fact. Before that you are putting it off… following disciple reunion tours… spending some time in disciple-hab…

    3) John wrote his over some beers. “Synoptic” comes from the Greek for “sober.”

  4. Well, the synoptic gospels all probably came from the same source (likely Mark first– 30 years after the events, then Matt and Luke–10-30 years after Mark).

    John was even later and written over the course of several years. And also, no parables? Whose bright idea was that?

    It’s an interesting theory, but the gospels weren’t written by the dudes in question.

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