The lighter side of Acts

Yes, God does have a sense of humor, and so does at least one of the evangelists, according to the Collegeville Commentary of the New Testament. It cites several images or events in Acts as evidence of Luke’s humor. Among them:

  • Paul and Silas in prison at Philippi, stripped and beaten as criminals, listening to prayer and singing at midnight (16:25).
  • The evil spirit mocking Jewish exorcists in Ephesus—“Jesus I recognize, Paul I know, but who are you?”—and overpowering them so they fled naked and wounded (19:13-16). The scene reads like slapstick comedy, says William S. Kurz S.J.
  • Also in Ephesus: Senseless rioting by silversmiths (frustrated idolmakers) and a comic two-hour chant “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” (19:32-33).
  • The natives of Lystra in Lycaonia (Turkey) and Malta treating Paul and Barnabas as gods. In Lystra they call Barnabus Zeus and Paul Hermes, “because he was the chief speaker.” (14:12) In Malta they waited for Paul to swell up and die from a snake bite, then decided he was a god (28:6).
  • My favorite occurs in Troas. Paul talks all night long, because he has to leave the next day, and young Eutychus, sitting on a window sill, falls asleep. He topples from the third story and dies. Paul rushes down, restores him to life, eats, then keeps talking until morning (20:7-12)!
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