Have you ever wondered? Have you ever asked the question?
Did Jesus have a sense of humor? Did Jesus laugh?
Some Bible teachers suggest that while we know Jesus wept (John 11:35) there’s no reference in the Bible to Him laughing. That might be true, but that doesn’t mean He never laughed, does it?
If Jesus was 100% percent human and 100% percent divine, it’s only logical that He enjoyed His time on earth, experiencing all of the emotions that you and I do, including laughter. In fact, I’m quite sure His spirit during His ministry could be light and buoyant, depending on the occasion.
For example, we know that children loved being around Jesus, in fact they flocked to Him in droves. Have you ever known of a child to be drawn to a sour and dour person? Never!
We know from reading the scriptures that Jesus rejoiced. In fact, there is every indication that He loved a good party, even helping to transform an ordinary wedding reception into something extraordinary by turning water into wine.
But clearly, there is a difference between “rejoicing” and “laughing.” In earthly terms, I rejoice at the sight of our two healthy and smart sons, but laughter doesn’t always accompany the joy.
I wonder if some people get tripped up on the matter of Jesus and laughter because modern culture has corrupted humor itself.
Somebody recently pointed out to me that in classic Greek comedy, the play ends with the actors crying and the audience laughing. In contrast, in Shakespearean comedy, the play ends with both the actors and audience laughing.
The moral of the story?
In the classic Greek model, the audience is left to feel superior to the individuals on stage. Their laughter is a form of mockery. Yet in the English model, both actors and audience are relating to one another, seeing the same thing and finding the same humor in it. In this model, there is no smugness, only a shared sense of joy. Modern comedy all too often seems to revolve around trying to have fun by making fun.
That’s not the type of laughter Jesus shared with His disciples. I suspect He was only inclined to laugh with—not at—others. He didn’t put people down; He only lifted them up.
In addition to looking to Jesus for answers on how to live, I find the life and lessons of King David instructive. Of course, David was a hardly a perfect man. To look at his record is to see an individual burdened by adultery and the sin of murder. But David was a repentant King and his 40 year reign was framed and marked by a spark and enthusiasm for life.
As we wind our way to Thanksgiving, in the midst of a recession even, I think it’s a good time to ask the question of whether or not we’re living our lives with a spirit of anticipation, or resignation? I think the Lord appreciates it when His creation (you and me) live life with gusto!
I think He takes pleasure in seeing ours. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” said Jesus [John 10:10]. From my perspective, Jesus liked to have fun and, oh, how they despised Him for holding to that sense of wonder and joy. But, what do you think?
Imagine if Jesus were to join you at your Thanksgiving table this Thursday.
What would you say? What would you talk about?
And lastly, what do you think you’d laugh together about?
-Jesus probably didn’t laugh because he already knew the punch line. Ha!