October 14, 2011

The Sound of Laughter

Here is a short post to ponder.
"The widespread failure to recognize and to appreciate the humor of Christ is one of the most amazing aspects of the era named for Him. Anyone who reads the Synoptic Gospels with a relative freedom from presuppositions might be expected to see that Christ laughed, and that He expected others to laugh, but our capacity to miss this aspect of His life is phenomenal. We are so sure that He was always deadly serious that we often twist His words in order to try and make them conform to our preconceived mold. A misguided piety has made us fear that acceptance of His obvious wit and humor would somehow be mildly blasphemous or sacrilegious"
~Elton Trueblood The Humor of Christ (1964)~
Jesus was fully human (and divine). It is fully human to laugh and find humor in things. Jesus clearly liked and used exaggeration and hyperbole. See planks in anyone's eye lately? He also liked wordplay and wit, as is clearly evident in the story of the faith of the Canaanite woman...

"Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment." Matthew 15:21-28

Why do we need to continually drive people away from Jesus with this version of Him that clearly couldn't have been true as He was truly human? I mean cooooome on people... look at His disciples, look at us! He has to have a sense of humor! He clearly got angry, why wouldn't he have had a good laugh? A humorless "stick in the mud" Jesus is an unrealistic image of Him. He was a baby at one time. Anyone remember the giggle of their child? The squeal of delight of an infant? Surely Jesus experienced joy in His time here on earth and even now? We wrongly see Him as an ancient version of the Borg or a Vulcan from Star Trek trying to "assimilate" or “compute” followers. Sorry, I just can't see Jesus saying, "that's illogical" or "we are Kingdom". Jesus was fully human and humans laugh. Jesus laughed. So should we...before we end up being like the Borg and being absorbed into a mindless collective like the surrounding culture.

Addendum:

I already began getting comments via back-channels that the Scripture nevers says Jesus laughed. Indirectly it does, just as I stated in this post. The Scripture nevers says the word Trinity either but we know it to be a true concept from implications in the text. So too laughter. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. If he is fully human it stands to reason Jesus ran the gamut of emotion also. Being fully divine He created the emotions. Implication: The Creator of emotion having taken on the the complete attribute of humanity would've laughed just as He angered, and wept, and sweat and bled and suffered. We also know that children loved being around Jesus, in fact they flocked to Him in droves. Has anyone ever known of a child drawn to a person with a constant sourpuss? Do we really suppose this is the way Jesus was 24/7 for 33 years?

"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”  He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do." Luke 10:17-21

The word joy in (v.21) is ἠγαλλιάσατο/egalliasato which means to rejoice greatly or jump for joy. Do we really suppose Jesus is grimacing through this in pain? Please.

4 comments:

Stephen Phillip Porter said...

My favorite Jesus joke is at the end of Matthew 9 when He tells the disciples to pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers into the fields. And then at the beginning of Matthew 10, He says, "hey your prayers are answered. I'm sending you." That always makes me chuckle, and I like to imagine Jesus chuckling about it too.

Andy Pierson said...

Sweet! Never saw it that way. Now I do. :D

Jessica M said...

My first time here...great post! I really enjoyed reading it :) Came across the link from one of the groups on fb. I have a blog too..would love for you to visit sometime.

Blessings :)

Andy Pierson said...

Thank you Jessica!

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