Sense of Humor in the New Testament
by ThresiaPaulose varghese
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Sometime back one of my friends sent me a picture of Laughing Jesus. Most of us have seen pictures of the suffering face of Jesus. But pictures of Jesus Christ in a mood of humor are very rare. What does the Holy Bible say about joy, laughter and merriment? If we probe into the scriptures, we can find a lot of references carrying the sense of humor.
Humor in the Four Gospels
The Gospels provide a very interesting reading and they are laced with a sense of humor with several incidents showing that Jesus had a deep sense of humor. We can make use of them occasionally when we feel bored or tired to refresh our spirits. They can provide us a breath of fresh air and relief. I have given a few here that have struck my mind.
1) The Blushing of Plain Water at Cana
The miraculous incident at the wedding at Cana will entertain us all and make us also enjoy the humor at an important function. There was a shortage of wine. The bridegroom and his friends are not in a mood to listen to any complaint of scarcity. Jesus also seems to be least bothered about their crisis. But the narration of Luke makes us all enjoy the situation in a spirit of humor. We enjoy the result, the best wine was served last at the wedding at Cana.
2) Zacchaeus, the short and fat man, jumped down from the sycamore tree
The anxiety and actions of the rich tax-collector Zacchaeus make us laugh in humor. Whenever I told about this incident to my grand children, they laughed and laughed at how he was searching for a way to see Jesus, how he climbed up a tree with his huge body and how he jumped down in a hurry when Jesus called him. I had to repeat the story many a time.
3) Peter walks on the sea but sinks and cries out, “Lord, help me”
Peter was a man of special characters. When he saw Jesus walking on the sea, his impulse makes him demand Jesus to enable him also to walk on the sea. But after a few steps on water, his weakness pulls him back with a doubt if it is real.
4) Mary Magdalene, the most devoted disciple of Jesus, mistakes the risen Lord for the gardener
Mary Magdalene had been the most devoted disciple of Jesus. She knew him well and loved him most. She was quite anxious when the cave of his burial was empty. She runs here and there. When she meets him in the garden, though she knows him very well, mistakes him as the gardener.
5) The disciples walking on the road to Emmaus
The disciples on the road to Emmaus ask the risen Lord if he alone does not know of the happenings in Jerusalem. They were moving with him for quite a long time. They had heard him say about his resurrection. The resurrection news has already reached their ears. Yet, they could not recognize him when he appeared to them in person.
6) Jesus Brings out the Inner Life of the Samaritan Woman
It is really amusing to find Jesus mentioning to the Samaritan woman about her husbands when she says, “I do not have a husband.” She is right in saying that she does not have one because she has had five and the one she has now is not her husband.
7) Jesus Nicknaming John and James
You cannot miss the funny incident of Jesus giving James and John the nickname “Sons of Thunder” after they want Jesus to call down fire on Samaria. They ask to rain fire down on the town that would not accept them and Jesus refuses their proposal but calls them “sons of thunder.”
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does like good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones”
“There is a right time for everything. A time to cry; a time to laugh,” (Ecclesiastes 3; 1) and so let us cheer up and enjoy. “So cheer up! Take courage if you are depending on the Lord,” (Psalm 31:24) God wants us to be happy and cheerful.
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This WONDERFUL! Yes! I AGREE! I see humor, in both the Old and New Testaments! I feel that it is a shame, that most readers of Scripture fail to see the humor imbedded in its rich text. After all, where do we get our sense of humor from: but, from our heavenly Father? God bless you!