Whilst much of the world are happy to accept that Jesus was fully human and reject His audacious claim to be divine, much of Christian culture accepts His divinity but ignores His humanity. It as if we feel it is more appropriate to simply revere Him as a God because to think of Him as a man is dishonouring in some way. Perhaps we also find it more comfortable to sustain a faith based on following rules and establishing routines rather than engage with an unpredictable and piercingly bright personality. Such perceptions are reinforced by the pictures that fill our minds of paintings we have seen of Jesus as an austere and aloof man. Paintings that do not make Him seem particularly human and certainly don’t convey much of a personality. The result is a tragic irony; Jesus came to reveal to us the true character of God (Hebrews 1:1-3) but we largely fail to consider the character and personality of Jesus, despite the many stories we have as evidence.
Let’s consider the question of whether Jesus laughed. It seems an interesting and insightful question to consider but in reality it is an absurd question that we should instantly know the answer to, if we knew His personality. Of course He laughed!
Laughter is the natural human response to Joy, which according to Galatians (5:22-23), is one of the fruits of the spirit. His spirit. It is also said that “the Joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), which is hardly much comfort if the Lord himself is not joyful.
It is also very telling to consider how we imagine His demeanour in the gospel accounts that we are familiar with. The wedding feast at Cana for example. Wedding feasts were week long affairs attended by the whole community as a celebration of the health and cohesion that marriages bring to the community. Jesus, by all accounts loved such occasions, gaining him a reputation as a glutton and a drunkard (Matt 11:19). Do we think of Him sitting on the outskirts of the celebration looking on with judgement at the sight of the community feasting and drinking? Or, do we think of Him reclining at the table with friends, enjoying the fine wine that He had miraculously provided late into the night, perhaps even with a friend leaning against His chest as John did at the last supper? And what of His reaction when the host realises that it isn’t just any wine, but the finest of wines? Do we think of Him like a priest holding the communion cup out for us or might He have given a wry smile and a wink of delight towards the host?
Laughing with friends is a God given pleasure, one that Jesus will know better than anyone. As Chesterton put it, Jesus was “more Human than Humanity”. Imagine the joy at surprising your closest friends with a BBQ of fresh fish on the beach shortly after defeating death and rescuing the world. The joy and laughter must have been unbounded. Belly laughs that make you gasp for breath, faces aching from broad smiles and tears tumbling down your cheeks.
I don’t just believe that Jesus laughed, I believe He laughed whole-heartedly.
Grid Ref is intended to help re-orientate men along the narrow path and are a mixture of personal testimonies and reflections from the A&D Team.