Monday, March 31, 2014


We don't usually think of Jesus laughing. Wasn't He called a "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" in the prophetic Scriptures? 

Yes, He willingly and obediently followed His Father's plan to suffer and die on the cross at the young, vigorous age of thirty. In the prime of His life Jesus bore our sins in such an excruciating way to open heaven for us. 

 But the Scripture also says that He endured that suffering "for the JOY that was set before Him." 

Think about it--wouldn't you be surprised if He didn’t habitually laugh and enjoy food, companionship, jovial Jewish festivals, and a happy home life growing up? Wouldn’t you imagine that Mary and Joseph’s normal Jewish household was not a morose place but rather that there would have been plenty of merriment? 

Don’t you suppose He went over to His Grandma Anne's house for sleepovers, perhaps engaging in boyish horseplay with His boyhood buddies as they stretched out on His grandparents’ flat rooftop under the stars (that He created!)? Don’t you imagine Grandma Anne probably spoiled Him by keeping her "cookie jar" stocked with sweet dates or figs and other delicacies? 

Could you visualize Him as anything other than a normal, happy Jewish boy? The Jewish calendar had so many prolonged feast days for families to celebrate. Wouldn't Jesus have had fun along the way on their regular pilgrimages to Jerusalem with donkey caravans and camping out and roadside picnics all the while singing the joyful songs of Zion? 

Can’t you just picture Jesus participating in the festive Jewish group dances, and romping around the neighborhood with his apparently numerous cousins? Think of Him as an eager teenager anticipating fun with His relatives and neighbors and classmates from the rabbinical school. After all, Jesus grew up in a typical Jewish cultural environment that must have had its lighthearted moments.

As Jesus grew to manhood, dealing with the village customers in Joseph & Son Building and Carpentry Shop” probably had its humorous incidences too.

During His years of ministry, do you think that He would have been invited to weddings and dinners and banquets as frequently as Scripture records if He had been a dead pan, wet blanket, miserable guest?

Even some of Jesus' parables seem to be tongue-in-cheek, deliberate exaggerations to make a point. The listening crowd lounging on the Judean hillsides must have laughed with Him at His obvious embellishments in a story He was telling. 

Can't you just imagine Jesus joining someone whom He had just healed in a head thrown back joyful laugh of praise to God? 

Think about the little kids who were attracted to Him, whom He welcomed in His embrace and lifted up to sit on His lap—and think about the moms who not only didn't snatch them away in fear but intentionally brought them to Jesus for His blessing. Would they have trusted their children to a sour-faced, frowning grouch?

In His itinerant ministry in adult years His favorite stopover when near Bethany was the home of Mary, Martha, and His good buddy Lazarus. That’s where He could kick off His sandals, anticipate Martha’s savory cooking, and relax. Of course He would engage in serious heavenly conversation but probably also in plenty of family small talk as He recounted tales of His preaching tours and some of the bumblings of His disciples who so often "just didn't get it." Likewise His leisure stopovers at Peter’s home in Galilee where He was warmly welcomed to enjoy the warm hospitality of Peter's family.

Well...draw your own conclusions...but with a smile. Just believe Jesus when He told us the reason He came into the world was "so that MY JOY may be in you, and YOUR JOY may be full" (John 15:11).

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