Humor in Jesus
“Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God…” Hebrews 2:17
And Jesus threw back his head and roared with laughter! Can you see this as true from what you have read concerning Jesus and who the Scriptures tell us He was and is? Was Jesus a man who knew and practiced humor? Well, the Scriptures do not tell us much or possibly even nothing of any humor which Jesus displayed. You might possibly see it in some of His parables where the numbers are used to get a glint of humor, but you have to be very acquainted with the numbering terms of ancient Israel as Jesus’ hearers were to catch His humor, possibly in the use of certain exaggerated sums of money or debt expressed in these parables.
Yet the New Testament accounts of Jesus are reluctant to express explicit accounts of His humor. They did not seem to fit into the more serious accounts of Jesus’ most important encounters. And the lighter moments of His relationships with his disciples and friends are simply not recorded by Jesus’ eyewitnesses, possibly because they were not seen as crucial or of such great importance to the narrative.
Hebrews 2:17 says, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God…” Humor is a natural proclivity for human beings and for Jesus as long as the humor itself is pure. Laughter emanates from the human creature God made. So, if Jesus is like His brothers in every respect, He is, in His being a man, one who possesses sinless humor, even if not written about. When you understand the cultural background, His parables can speak of humor in the results. For example, the contrasts drawn from different amounts of debt owed and paid, the insiders’ snub of an invite to a huge special event and then an invite to outsiders in particular offered while the insiders’ invite is withdrawn, etc.
The greatest evidence is the statement that Jesus is made into a being who is the same as His fellow creatures yet without sin. Pure humor is sinless, so Jesus had humor like we who recognize humor and laugh; sometimes we are so bemused we laugh until we cry! I well imagine Jesus did, too, despite the knowledge of judgment to be yet reckoned upon the earth’s unforgiven population, explaining Jesus’ tears when He saw the city of Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry prior to His crucifixion. Our likeness to Him and His likeness to us all points to a humor which dwelt in Jesus as well as us. Jesus laughed with great joy. He will laugh at the marriage feast of the Lamb and on into eternity with His brothers and sisters. Laughter is an expression of joy. It is one of the ways redemption is acknowledged. It is one of the expressions of a heavy load being lifted off your spirit.
Though nothing seems to be written that tells us clearly that Jesus laughed, you can be sure He did as His Spirit is acquainted with ours, and He is like us, yet without sin. God created us with humor. Have you ever played the game “Don’t Laugh? We always end up laughing even though we try our hardest not to. Humor is bred deep within our spirit. So it is with our Savior.
It will be a grand experience to laugh face-to-face with our Redeemer and know how much He loves and enjoys us. Jesus not only cried, but He laughed and will laugh with us in eternity where we will have no tears.
“Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness; no harshness hast thou and no bitterness. Make us to taste the sweet grace found in thee and ever stay in thy sweet unity.”
(4th verse of John Calvin’s hymn in the Strasbourg Psalter, “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art,” 1545)
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