Yes! He proved it when He created the blobfish, duck-billed platypus, giraffe, kangaroo, rhinoceros, skunk, warthog, and humans. As image-bearers of God, we, like Him, have a sense of humor and enjoy laughter. Too often, we paint the picture in our minds of Jesus primarily being a man of sorrows who desires to judge us. When we read the scriptures, we find that Jesus was not a stand-up comic, but He was very witty and engaging. He used humor, most notably, with His motley crew of disciples and the Pharisees who were constantly trying to bring Him down. They were no match for Jesus, a master of painting funny mental pictures by using hyperboles to make a point or teach his listeners a lesson. He didn’t stay away from an occasional satirical sting. His sole purpose with his humor was to draw people to the truth of whom Jesus is: the Savior.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, several soldiers came to arrest him. Even though Jesus was about to face His death, He wanted them to know whom they were arresting. “So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he” (John 14:3-8).
There are some great lines where Jesus uses a simple truth that people in the culture would have understood and laughed at because they were so out of proportion.
- “Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes?” He asks, “or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). People who worked the ground would have surely laughed at that one.
- “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3-5)
- “Jesus also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:39-40).
- “So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2-4).
The parable of the unforgiving debtor in Matthew 18 might be my favorite. It is about the unforgiving servant who owed his master money that he could not repay, and the master had compassion for him, forgave his debt and released him. This story doesn’t seem like a big deal to us until we understand the currency of Jesus’ time.
Dr. Samuel Lamerson nailed it when he wrote, “Imagine a slave who owes the king some money. Make that a lot of money—10,000 talents, even. We might not get the joke, but Jesus’ listeners would have: That’s more money than the Roman government had! It’s as if your freshman daughter had called up to say she’d run a little money upon the credit card you gave her. How much? The national debt.
Better yet, when the man is called to pay, he says, “Give me a little more time, and I will pay all” (18:26). This is like the girl telling her father that she “plans to get a job at Christmas” to pay off that maxed-out credit card. What’s a king to do? Instead of laughing the slave out of his court (or into prison), he simply forgives the debt. She calls the credit card company and whines a little, so they let her off the hook. Just like that.
Then the topper: The slave leaves and finds someone who owes him a hundred denarii—a few months’ wages. Not only does he demand the money, but he chokes the poor guy. That goes beyond being merely uncharitable; it’s downright cruel. One might even say comically so. In the end, the unjust slave gets his comeuppance—tossed in jail until he can pay in full, which he never can.
Lesson learned, Jesus wanted his audience to see the ridiculousness of holding a grudge against a neighbor when our Lord, the gracious king, has wiped clean a fortune’s worth of sin.”
We worship a Holy, merciful, all-powerful, all-knowing, grace-filled God, who loves us enough to send Jesus to earth to love, teach, live, laugh, and die for us. Jesus is not looking to the pious religious ones who claim to be without sin, nor is He looking for the intelligent, rich, nor social, and political movers and shakers of our day. God desires to be in relationships with ordinary people that know how to live life to the full, spread the saving grace of His Son, and perhaps, share a few laughs.