Did Jesus Laugh?

A pastor's response.

BY: William Webber


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Let me cut to the chase: Of course, Jesus laughed. Every normal person laughs. To suggest that Jesus never laughed implies that he suffered from deep psychological problems. And what evidence is offered to support this idea? Simply this: The gospels never say, "Jesus laughed." We do read that Jesus wept (John 11:35), but never that he laughed or even smiled. But does this mean that he didn't? An argument from silence is never valid. To see how illogical that line of reasoning is, consider all the other things one would need to argue that Jesus never did. For example, there is no record that Jesus ever took a bath, washed his face, or combed his hair.

The problem is that many people look at Jesus through stained glass and find it difficult to think that he did the normal, everyday things that all people do. If Jesus is God as well as man, they ask, would


laugh? Perhaps the God some believe in is always stern and serious, but not the God of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Psalm 2:4 states clearly that God enthroned in heaven laughs.

Some have the idea that a sincerely religious person would always be serious. In one school, the seminary students were told, "To be a bishop you need gray hair to give you that distinguished look and hemorrhoids to give you that sorrowful look." But the great religious leaders, including Billy Graham, the pope, C.S. Lewis, and Mother Teresa, all find much that makes them laugh.

Jesus was a joyful person, continually urging his followers to be joyful. In John 15:11 he explains to his disciples, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." Jesus was all for happiness. Don't miss the point in the Beatitudes by making the word "blessed" to be some solemn, otherworldly virtue. Scholars are agreed that the word Jesus used in Matthew 5 translated "blessed" could just as well read how


as in, "How happy are the poor in spirit." Jesus' conclusion is clear: "Rejoice and be exceeding glad" (Matthew 5:12).

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