The Humor of Jesus

We know the Bible is not a joke book. In fact, it is very serious about the deadly consequences of our sin and our stubborn refusal to accept God’s redemptive mercy toward us in Christ. All of that said, the Bible does have its share of Holy Humor. We are never told whether Jesus laughed or smiled, but it is hard to picture his personality as anything but winsome and attractive. It does not take a stretch to believe that Jesus had a well-developed sense of humor. It veritably shines through his words and actions. For instance, Jesus once pictured the religious legalists of his day being like a man who so carefully polished the outside of his drinking cup while forgetting to clean out the crud on the inside (Matthew 23:25). He also pictured these religionists as people who carefully picked flies out of their drinks while proceeding to swallow camels (Matthew 23:24). Can you imagine that scene in your mind? Jesus often made his point by humorous exaggeration. For example, he said “It is much harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” (Mark 10:25). Jesus’ word-picture vividly portrayed his point and would be like us using a more modern image: “It is much harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a Mazda Rx8 to go through the money-slot of an ATM machine.” There had to have been a giggle running through his audience as he portrayed the hypocrisy of the critical fault-finder being like the man who noticed a tiny piece of sawdust in his brother’s eye, while he had this huge chunk of firewood sticking out of his own eye (Matthew 7:3). What a humorously crazy picture he painted when he asked whether anyone would light a candle or a lamp and then proceed to put it under a washtub or beneath the bed instead of on a table or mantel (Mark 4:21). Another piece of information which contributes to a picture of a humorous Jesus was that he attracted sinners and ate with them (Luke 15:2). He had the kind of personality that drew men and women of doubtful reputation to himself, so that they wanted to be with him and listen to him (Luke 15:1). What a contrast to the separatistic, dour, and humorless personalities of the Pharisees! What a wonderful Savior! May we also display an approachable, holy, and humorous character so that sinners may continue to be attracted to Jesus and listen intently to his Word.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ricki on July 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve always found this is the biggest piece missing in portrayals of Jesus in movies. He’s always so serious and stoic. I don’t think that’s the full picture of who Jesus is at all!

    Reply

    • Agreed, but we do tread lightly where the Scripture is not clear.

      Reply

    • I always thought of JESUS as both
      serious and a manbof humor!

      JESUS must have had a humorous
      side, in order to make Himself
      approachable for children!
      As a child myself, I always found
      it easier to connect with a joyful
      person, rather than someone who
      has just gargled on a bottle of
      lemon juice! Yet, I am sure that JESUS
      knew when to be serious even with
      children. He used the faith of a child
      as an indicator of what we will need
      to see God in the next life!

      Reply

  2. Posted by Beverly on July 21, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Again, well said . I now have a better undertaking of Jesus’ personality .

    Reply

  3. Posted by cathy machak on July 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I always liked where the man born blind was healed by Jesus and then dragged before the authorities. He got after them during the cross examination and wanted to know if they also wanted to be Jesus disciple.

    Reply

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