Ed Eddy was for a brief time a member of the second church I pastored right before I moved to the Willow Island Baptist Church. He and his wife were very good members. The thing I remember most about Ed was that he was the quickest wit I have ever known. He would respond with the wittiest responses without having to give much thought to what he heard anyone else say. And, usually, it was hilarious.
Once, when he was in the hospital awaiting surgery, he told me the following account during my visit with him. In a certain church he attended, he noticed that, whenever he was around a certain lady, how she would look curiously at his legs. This went on for a long time.
Finally, she asked the question that she had long wanted to ask, “Ed, do you have a wooden leg?” That was why she kept eye-balling his legs when she was around him. She had heard from someone that Ed had had one of his legs amputated, and that it had been replaced with a wooden peg leg. She was trying to make the determination if he had a wooden leg or not without asking such a personal question.
Ed said quickly, “No, but my daddy has a cedar chest!” Wow! You have to admit that that was an impressive and witty off-the-cuff response. It caused me to laugh.
So, as I have thought about Ed’s wit, it caused me to think about how quick witted our Lord was. Jesus Christ was the smartest person I know. He always had the right answer for the moment when someone said something to Him. He frequently fielded some pointed questions with memorable answers, and there were those who directed some hard statements toward Him to which He responded impressively.
One of my favorites was when He told His disciples that they needed to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” I have long been impressed with that wisdom from Him.
Once a church lady tried to rebuke me for a careful response she had heard me make to someone. So, I told her how the Lord had said to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
She threw her hands to her face, and exclaimed, “My Bible does not say that!” When I showed her the verse in Matthew 10, she was taken back that she did not her Bible as well as she thought, she said.
The Lord’s reference to a camel “passing through the eye of a needle” is a good one, too. The Lord had been confronted by one we refer to as the rich young ruler. The man had “great possessions.” The Lord told him that in order to follow Him that he needed to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. Then, he “would have treasure in Heaven.”
When the man rejected the directive, the Lord commented that it was hard for a rich person to enter into the Kingdom of God, the disciples questioned His logic. The Lord’s response is classic. He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Have you ever tried to envision that scenario? Many have tried to relate it to a two-foot square opening in one of Jerusalem’s gates. But, according to W. E. Vines, “that explanation receives no justification from the language. There is no ancient trace for it.”
Regardless, the Lord was merely teaching how hard it is many times for the wealthy to trust in God for salvation as He compared it to the camel and the needle’s eye. It is, nonetheless, a great response by the Lord.
These are only two examples of the Lord’s great wit. There are many others. But, what it does is to underscore abiding interest in reading the Bible.
How can anyone say that reading the Bible is dull when one considers the words of Jesus Christ? He is more impressive with what He said than Ed’s response that “my daddy has a cedar chest.”
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.