Did Jesus Have A Sense Of Humor?
by Carlton Pruitt
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Has the question of whether Jesus had a sense of humor ever crossed your mind? I'm sure people have tried to find humor in the Bible and have been disappointed to find none. Some people with a less than sober outlook on life try to find humor in everything including the Bible. Some people are prone to look for things that make them laugh because laughter makes these people feel good.
Admittedly, laughter does good like a medicine and if asked which is better sorrow or laughter most people would err I think by saying laughter is better. Scripture would prove them mistaken for according to Eccl 7:3 "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better."
But we also read in Ecclesiastes 3:4 there is a time for everything including "A time to weep, and a time to laugh"
In fact in Proverbs it says that God will laugh at the wicked.
"I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." Proverbs 1:26
Laughter can not be sinful in itself otherwise God would not use this language would He? The Lord Jesus is the Lord of laughter and humor but it must not be sinful laughter but Holy and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Some people think God is a cosmic killjoy and that Jesus had no sense of humor because it says in Isaiah 53:3
3. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
It also says in John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible, that "Jesus Wept."
Surely such verses might be used to prove that Jesus had no sense of humor and that he frowned upon laughter as something sinful.
Because Jesus is never said to have laughed or smiled doesn't mean He didn't laugh or smile. The Bible doesn't say Jesus washed His hair either but does than mean that he didn't practice good hygiene? Ofcourse not.
It's an argument from silence if we say Jesus didn't wash His hair. From the same reasoning we might argue that Jesus never hugged or kissed His mother since it's never recorded in the bible that he did. We would be sadly mistaken would we not to conclude such a thing? Jesus loved His mother Mary and would have expressed such love and emotion just as any human being would.
Imagine Jesus picking up a little baby or child in His arms. Do you not think that Jesus when doing so and saying "Of such is the Kingdom of heaven" could smile or laugh with joy and happiness just as you and I might if we picked up a little child and saw the smiles and gurgling sounds coming from the little ones face?
Jesus to be sure was not on a "fun" mission or a mission that was "funny". He was a serious minded man who was sober and totally focused on doing the will of His Father in heaven.
Certainly Jesus wasn't crucified for His humor or lack thereof. He was no comedian and neither did He try to be.
This is a lesson some preachers would do well to learn. It's okay to use humor to make a point that communicates a vital lesson or truth but we shouldn't do so as to draw attention to ourselves. Jesus never did that. In fact during His life after doing a miracle He told certain ones do not tell anybody about it.
Jesus was so unlike us in this regards because the average person would want to broadcast his miracles everywhere in order to gain a huge following.
Now in discussing humor we must keep in mind that Jesus was not only God but man and as a man Jesus would also appreciate what we might call "sanctified humor." Afterall God created man in His image and unless we are prepared to say that all humor is of the Devil we must affirm that humor, clean wholesome humor is not an invention of man but is something God created.
Does that term sanctified humor sound oxymoronic?
Perhaps it does but let's see once what the Bible might say about humor or things that may be spoken or written to appeal to our sense of humor.
We know that Jesus came on a mission to do His Father's will. He came to lay down His life for his friends and to give His life a ransom for many but His mission on earth Jesus had to communicate with all sorts of people.
Part of communication is using words in a skillful way. Sometimes humor is effective in opening up people and getting their attention and/or teaching valuable lessons or truth so as to bring us closer to Jesus who is truth. John 14:6
There are several types of humor used throughout the Bible and it is from this deep well spring of language than some of the best English and American writers have drawn from to create their humor in literature.
Let us examine one of the various types of humor found in the Bible.
Hyperbole as you may recall from your English or American literature class is the use of exaggeration for a funny or humours effect.
Many of Jesus' comments would have had His listeners laughing
heartedly, while at the same time making an important point or teaching a vital truth.
I've always found the following verse humorous as an instance of hyperbole or exaggeration.
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."
It's this use of exaggeration that creates a word picture that is quite laughable but for a purpose other than just to get a nice chuckle out of the hearer.
A similiar use of exaggeration today to teach the sin of eating too much food might be something like he's so fat as a result of overeating that "He has to run around the shower just to get his feet wet."
Being fat isn't a sin unless it is the result of gluttony which is a sin. Gluttony is making a god or idol out of your belly.
It's finding more satisfaction in the carnal senses of physical food than spiritual food.
What makes the above phrase about running around the shower to get your feet wet kind of funny is that it is so ridiculous that it evokes our sense of the absurd and impossible while conveying an important truth.
If you overeat and take in too many calories you could become obese and thus end up like the above description with a stomach so big than you could almost take a shower and not get your feet wet unless you ran around the shower. Okay you get the point.
Let us read the Bible as it was meant to be read and not look for comedy to fulfil our lusts for pleasure but let us read it as the Word of God with a sober mind. If we find something ironic or hyperbolic or satirical then let us appreciate the effect of humor and what God is trying to communicate.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.com
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