Cut It Out

zacchaeus

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (John 21:25)

Anybody in the film business will tell you that the most important post-production person is the editor. He cuts out the bad takes and splices together the rest to tell a seamless story. The same goes for the book business. Even the best author needs a good editor to weed out the typos, cut the crap, and polish the rest to a literary luster. For every masterpiece there’s a huge pile on the cutting room floor.

The Bible is no exception. It’s had more of its share of editors over the years, and for all of its two testaments, sixty-six books, 1,189 chapters, 31,102 verses, and 788,280 words, there are tons of stuff that didn’t make the cut.

So here’s John telling us that he’s left out of his book a whole bunch of things Jesus said and did. It’s not like Little John included only what he actually witnessed ; John is saying he saw Jesus do many other things but chose to edit them out. Are you freaking kidding me? He’s writing an account of the most important person in human history, the purported savior of the world, the personification of the living God, the guy whose every move is a sign from the Creator of the universe—and John tosses a HUGE chunk of it on the cutting room floor? I’ll give him this much: the man’s got chutzpa.

Then what did get axed? First, John may have cut out some things that Jesus said which didn’t exactly come across as Son of God material. Maybe Jesus was having an off day, or maybe he wasn’t aware that the microphone was on. Here are some possible examples:

“Oops.”
“Do you know the way to San Jose?”
“Best two out of three?”
“Well, I suppose it’d be okay. But just this once.”
“Boy, I sure nailed that one.”
“Do they want red or white wine?”
“Peter, sometimes you’re such a dork head.”
“Would you consider giving me half the kingdoms of the world if I fall down and worship you for, say, ten minutes?”
“Just between you and me, I walked because I don’t know how to swim.”
“You ever get the feeling that maybe you’re just better than other people?
“It’s kind of weird. When I pray sometimes it feels like I’m just talking to myself.”
“Tell you what, demon. I’ll drive you out if you’ll give me a ride back.”
“Lepers give me the willies.”
“If I wanted to I could burp for six minutes straight.”
“Compared to my real dad, Joseph was such a schlep.”
“Oh great. Look what that dove did to me.”
“Take and eat before it gets cold.”
“What a loser. He just stood there and let me spit in his eyes.”
“Figures. My cousin was always losing his head over a girl.”
“Which Mary are you again?”
“Pull my finger.”
“To be honest, I’ve never really liked Jews that much.”
“Do you think this cross makes me look fat?”

Obviously, these sayings were probably best edited out. John made some good calls.

It’s easier to imagine some things Jesus did that got cut. John obviously left out the many times Jesus had to use the john, for example. He also may have cut out a few of the lesser miracles—say, Jesus starting out his day without a good cup of coffee. No big loss in the grand scheme of things.

On the whole, and considering whose life he was documenting, John seems to have done a pretty good job. Still, it sure would be interesting to get a look at what fell to the cutting room floor.

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One Response

  1. I am thinking that Jesus did quit doing amazing things when he asended into heaven. I believe he is still doing amazing things every day!

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