Did Jesus laugh? And what does the Bible have to say about laughing? Brad explores the topic of laughter in the Bible, and why it might not mention Jesus laughing.
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What Causes Us To Laugh?
A brother and I walked into church on Sunday, both wearing beige pants, and the same color green shirts. After the service, there was laughter, jokes and smiles relating to our attire.
What causes us to laugh? On average, adults laugh 15-20 times each day. Studies show only about 10% of laughter is attributed to jokes, or humor. We laugh mostly in connection with other humans. We laugh to share meaning and understanding. Laughing is a natural way to reaffirm relationships and an aide in making new ones. There is nothing particularly amusing about green shirts, but coincidences are often regarded with humor. Those enjoying a good chuckle at the two of us similarly dressed, shows they were relating to us, they took note of us…. they feel comfortable to even poke fun at us. Truly laughter is connected to relationships.
Laughter control mechanisms are located some distance away from brain regions that control higher functions such as language, memory, and thought processing. Laughter can work in conjunction with other parts of our brain, or independently. We can think about something, see something, or hear something that triggers a laugh. But independent laughter, sneaks up on us sometimes. Have you ever been at a wedding where the couple saying their vows, break into an uncontrollable bout of laughter?
We’ve laughed at people getting hurt, we’ve laughed during prayers, we’ve even perhaps had to try diligently to suppress an unwelcomed giggle at a funeral. Clearly laughter can be an independent function, and not always tied to “the joke”. And clearly some laughter is good, and others….not so much.
All humans laugh, – People who are both visually & hearing impaired; people who have never seen a smiling face, nor heard a sound still laugh. It’s instinctual. Infants laugh almost from birth; it’s not a learned behavior. GOD created us, our every ability, emotion, desire, and function. Eccl 3:4 tells us there’s a “time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. Prov 15:13 “ A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance”.
Whats Does The Bible Say About Laughter?
But for all the amount of laughing we do, the BIBLE doesn’t say a lot about LAUGHTER. There are more verses that seem to frown upon it. Eccl 7:3 says: “Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” Prov 14:13 states: “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.”
Does it actually mean laughing is frowned upon?
In comparison, we might say the same about human sexual relationship. Is it frowned upon? We know It is from God, it is what constitutes part of a marriage, it is what yields the blessing of children, it’s an expression of affection and love, YET, little is said in a GOOD light, in comparison with much more that is said against sexual sins- fornication, lust, adultery, prostitution, etc.
In all things, something used for good, IS for good, and GOD has created and intended it for that. The same GOOD thing, however, can be used for little or NO GOOD. Laughter certainly falls into that category.
Did Jesus Laugh?
I’m sure you’ve wondered, or heard the question posed: Did Jesus laugh when he was on the earth…. or does God have a sense of humor? We know without any uncertainty that God made all things, and understands all things that he made. He knows every nuance of our expressions when we smile, grin, smirk, chuckle, laugh, snort, or even double over with eyes watering, tongue hanging out, red-faced.
But it seems almost irreverent to think that Jesus was laughing and causing others to laugh when he walked the earth. And certainly, there was nothing our Lord ever did, or does, that is in anyway, in need of being questioned, or found to be lacking in judgement. For he is without sin, and he is the judge of all.
But we still have an unanswered question. Did Jesus laugh? Or, what if we revise that: did Jesus smile? You might say, well of course he smiled…that’s different from laughing. But the Bible is as silent on Jesus smiling, as it is on there being any expression of laughter.
I believe Jesus would have smiled many times during his life, as smiling, and laughter are both often borne out of pure joy. Jesus was born a babe in the manger., there would have been joy and smiling and laughter beaming from his mother, and Joseph, and his family, from early on in his infancy and childhood.
Imagine Jesus’ years of ministry, the multitudes he encountered, the children he gathered round himself; their questions, and silly gestures. We envision many smiles, and gentle, loving laughter.
Does The Bible Mention People Laughing?
Actually, the Bible doesn’t mention that Peter, James, or John smiled or laughed…nor Adam, Eve, Paul, Barnabus, Ruth, Esther, Moses, Aaron, Solomon, David, nor virtually any other bible character. BUT we know they were all human just like us. Solomon and David especially wrote much about every human emotions. And much of their lives are played out in detail in scripture; their sins, sorrows, mistakes, battles, fears, grievances and joys. There surely was smiling and laughter.
Neh 2:19 mentions three names in connection with laughter; but notedly in all of the Bible, the only two people we know much about are Abraham and Sarah: “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? Therefore, Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” Gen 21: 6 says: “And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”
Focus On Jesus’ Message
I believe it is most probable that our LORD smiled, and laughed here on earth. But I believe GOD is intentionally silent on this, and many other things, that our focus would be NOT on Jesus social interaction, but on his profound person and purpose.
JESUS came to fulfill the law of love, to save mankind from sin. His mission, his message is sobering. Laughter and Joy are in our lives, but of greater importance is an understanding that all are sinners, lost and undone.
When we’re faced with death, or terrible illness, … it TAKES PRECEDENCE
Consider a paramedic at an accident scene. It’s all about triage.
JESUS, was in constant triage, for in every situation there was a life at stake….and his utmost desire, was and is to SAVE LIVES. But the WICKEDNESS in laughter, often reared its ugly head toward our LORD. Psalm 22: 6,7 “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn”
Even when Jesus was saving lives, his power and person were scoffed at. “He said unto them, give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.”
Jesus came to earth, to offer himself a ransom for sinners, to deliver us from sin, and its curse. “Who for the Joy that was set before him, he endured the cross; despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God.”
Rejoicing in him, brings that blessed and pure fruit of the spirit, JOY, which results in smiles and laughter. God does not frown on our laughter, but blesses us with it that in all things we would see his hand, and give him all honor, glory and praise.
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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