Sarcasm can be used in a sinful manner, but sarcasm can be used in a Christlike manner, too. The goal of this series is to point out incidents in which sarcasm is used to critique. When sarcasm is used Biblically, the goal is to make a sharp point to the individual or audience, an ironic criticism.
We live in a feelings-based society. We often use our emotions to dicate to us if something is Biblical or not, but this is not how we properly discern. Clearly, people can be made uncomfortable in the Bible and the reasoning is because someone loved them enough to tell them the truth. Yes, the truth is what we need to give others. The truth is the most loving thing to share. The nice thing, the gentle thing, and the kind thing are sometimes rejected simply because people are disgusted by the truth.
To break away from ”feeling good,” sometimes sarcasm, though harsh, makes a better point than sugar-coated words do.
Have You Not Read?
Jesus often asks this question to His critics, ”Have you not read?”
The irony is that these individuals HAVE read the sacred texts. However, they MISUNDERSTOOD the points being made.
One example can be shown in John 3 when Nicodemus meets Jesus at night. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, the group of men who were considered great scholars of the Jewish people. When Jesus shares with Nicodemus the Gospel message and the purpose of the Messiah, Nicodemus is at a loss.
“How can this be?” he asks.
Jesus then responds, ”Are you a teacher of Israel and do not know these things?”
Now, let me ask you, if you were considered a scholar, read many books, and knew a great deal of scripture, men looked up to you, would YOU be offended if someone questioned how much you knew? Would you be offended if the one asking you this question knows full well you have read the scriptures?
I think our world would be upset at Christ and wouldn’t find His words loving.
No doubt the words Christ used were fairly harsh. But what He spoke was the truth. Nicodemus, like many other Pharisees, had read the scriptures, yet age, experience, and knowledge of the scriptures was not enough. They missed the point.
Many times people grew angry at Christ for calling them out. When the Sadducees asked Christ about the resurrection (though they did not believe in the resurrection), Christ questions them.
He tells them in Matthew 22:29 that the Sadducees are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. In Matthew 22:31, Jesus then asks them, ”Have you not read?” Christ ends His statement by saying that God is not the God of the dead, but the living. Jesus silences the Sadducees to the point both the Pharisees and Sadducees decide to group together to try to outwit Christ. (Matthew 22:23-34)
They did not really want to listen to Christ, instead, they wanted to catch Jesus in His words. Being right mattered more than the truth. They wanted Jesus to make a mistake because Christ made the Pharisees look foolish, and they refused to believe Christ was God, as Jesus proclaimed Himself to be. Thus, they wanted Him dead.
Interestingly, we do not see this with Nicodemus. Instead, Nicodemus listened to Christ. He does not grow angry at the criticism given to him. Perhaps, there is something we can learn from Nicodemus.
God is love. Jesus showed love when He answered this way because He never sinned. We must always be aware of who we speak to. Know the weaknesses of others. Some need encouragement. Some need snatching from the fire. I think sarcasm sometimes is a technique used when snatching people from the fire.
Scripture To Memorize/Meditate On – (ESV) Romans 5:08, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
–To learn more about what Jesus did on the cross and why His atonement sacrifice is so needed please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
–If you do not know the Gospel, do not turn away. If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
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