Hang the futtock on

Simon AllabyAudio, Story

David Mitchell as Shakespear

Fans of the Shakespearean-inspired comedy ‘Upstart Crow’ will be familiar with the exclamation ‘hang the futtock on’. It often comes at a moment when the playwright is struggling to find inspiration for his next play and suddenly realises that current events provide the perfect plotline. It’s a moment when the penny drops. But the comedy only works if the audience recognise the actual Shakespearean play being referenced. 

In a similar way so much of the significance of the Gospels passes us by because we don’t understand what’s being referred to. Take, for example, an occasion when Jesus and his friends are sailing across Lake Galilee. A storm blows up and they fear for their lives. But Jesus tells the storm to stop and it does. It’s a great miracle and teaches the disciples a lesson in trust. But more than that almost exactly the same event is described in Psalm 107, written hundreds of years earlier. In the Psalm it is the Lord God who ‘stills the storm’ when the sailors are at their ‘wits end’. So, when the disciples finally got to shore one of them must surely have exclaimed, ‘hang the futtock on’ Jesus must be God!

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