Did Jesus Laugh?

By Joel A. Hess

There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.” – GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Recently, the great Cornell West reminded me of the above quote when briefly talking about Jesus on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Jesus never laughed. In his popular little book Orthodoxy, Chesterton observes that unlike other philosophical and religious heroes, Jesus definitely showed emotion in tears and anger. Not surprisingly, God incarnate does not look upon the misery of our condition stoically, aloof, like a Buddha or Spock. Not only is Jesus fully human, but He came to get His hands dirty, to walk, to stand, to live and to die in our place. To stub His toe on a chair, to have perfume spilled on him, to sweat on a hike, to cry at a funeral, to taste his own blood dripping from a crown of thorns.

He is the everyman, not the no man. And in Him we are born again so that we will one day feel true love and a resurrected embrace. Yet Chesterton is correct. Jesus didn’t laugh. Or at best, He hid it.

I know you might have a picture of Jesus laughing on your wall. Take it down. Instead, put one up of yourself laughing. It’s OK. Because you can. You can laugh, smile in joy, dance like a fool. Jesus gives us His joy. He took our sorrow, our wars, our death, our sin and punishment.

He was serious. Our sin, then our self righteousness was ruining His world. The consequences of our trespasses and the ultimate punishment of death was stealing God’s creation. This was not a laughing matter. He came to rescue. As Luke says, “His face was set like flint toward Jerusalem.” He was and is on a mission to give joy.

I think Chesterton is right. He hid his joy and gave it to us. Yet He did tell stories of joy and laughter. Don’t be fooled. He showed us over and over the joy and laughter He experiences when the woman found the coin and the son returned to the father.

Oh, I would guess Jesus laughs today. Every time the lost are found. Every time a broken down hopeless sinner is told she is forgiven. Every time a lost sinner hears they are forgiven. Every time His holy supper comforts a sorrowful heart!

So there will be joy and laughter on that day that is coming! When all this sickness, sadness, sin and death are destroyed, we will sing, dance, and laugh!

And with you Jesus will laugh!