The Bible is divided into two essential covenants between God and God’s people. The first, which we call the Old Testament, involved God’s covenants, promises, and, yes, plans as revealed by the prophets of Israel as a nation. It was exclusively for the Jews. It revealed God’s good plans to prosper his Jewish people if they would love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly with God. Such “good news” involved plans God made that mostly failed. Life, one might even say, is what happens when God is busy making other plans.
We sometimes like to say that if we want to make God laugh, tell him our plans.
The Bible’s Old Testament, ironically, indicates that if God wanted to make people laugh, he should tell us his plans. And if you don’t believe me, just consider once again the prophet, Jeremiah. He became a laughingstock among his own Jewish people for telling them God’s plans. Only the false prophets of that day were taken seriously. The true prophets such as Jeremiah were scorned and ridiculed. God’s plans to allow Judah, like Israel to the north, freedom of choice but responsibility of consequence, made folks laugh. All the way into slavery in Babylon for the next 70 years!
The Bible’s New Testament reveals God’s next plans and even better good news not through the prophets but through God incarnate coming himself to earth in the body of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. Let’s see how that goes over.
Will these plans still make people laugh?
What do you think?
Well, the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion suggest there were likely some soldiers who scorned, ridiculed, and actually laughed out loud at him. In between their spits to his face. Because God’s new plan, new covenant, was the promise of God’s Kingdom of peace and justice to come not only for the Jews but for the entire world of God’s human creation. Yet, this would not be a political Kingdom but rather Spiritual. It would come only when people followed the moral example of Jesus as taught by both word and deed. Doing what Jesus said and what Jesus did would bring peace and justice for all the world, Jew and Gentile, male and female, old and young. God’s plan was for all, not just some, to prosper. Indeed, the plan God revealed himself, in the form of his own human body, Jesus Christ, would fulfill the good news of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Only this new plan, New Testament, would be for all the world and not just some, because the whole world is in exile away from the Kingdom of God as originally created for all humanity. We are all in captivity or bondage. We are all slaves, all oppressed, all poor, all sick, and all hungry. We are all stuck in the Babylon of our own sin.
And we, seeking our own kingdom of national exceptionalism, exclusion, and triumphalism over our enemies, are laughing. God’s plan of universal privilege, prosperity for all rather than harmful poverty for some, hope and a future rather than fear of the future, inclusivity and not exclusivity, and one world full of peace and justice…………….is making us laugh. Our own life is what happens while God is busy making other plans. God’s Kingdom as revealed by God himself in the person of Jesus is our ultimate LOL.
May God have mercy on us.