Eats, Shoots and Leaves

“But about the resurrection of the dead — have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matthew 22:31,32).
A panda walks into a caf?. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires it in the air. “Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a wild-life manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door. “Look it up.”
The waiter turns to the relevant entry, and sure enough finds an explanation.
“Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”
So punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.
(From Lynne Truss’s book, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves.”)
A little change makes a lot of difference. In English, word order changes an observation, “You’re looking good” to a soaring compliment, “You’re good looking!” Or it could change an optimist, “Good morning, Lord” to a pessimist, “Good Lord, morning!”
Jesus demonstrated the resurrection of the dead by turning his argument on the tense of a verb. If God was still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then those three must still be alive, he reasoned. This should give us a renewed respect for Jesus, the scholar, and a respect for the authority and inerrancy of scripture itself, if it can hold up to this sort of scrutiny.
Of course, there are major Biblical themes that a grade-schooler can discern — the milk of the word — but Jesus did not see the pages, or scripture, or even the tense of its words, as the random work of mere men.
How else can men — and pandas — learn how they are supposed to behave?

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