did Jesus have fun?
During breakfast I try to read a passage of scripture or a short devotional to the kids before they head out into the world. One book that we all really enjoy is "Step into the Bible" by Ruth Graham. The wording is easy for everyone at the table to understand, gives questions to answer for comprehension and a verse to memorize. During this season of life it seems to work for our crew. I often find the stories challenge and encourage me as well.
A few weeks ago we were reading about Jesus's First Miracle. I love how the first miracle, like so much about Jesus, is not what you would expect. We find him at a wedding party and there is a problem. The wine has run out. Jesus answers by turning water into a perfect wine. Actually from the response given by the drinkers it seems this wine is the best they have ever tasted. There are many things we could talk about from this story of Jesus's first miracle, but I want to focus on a question that was asked at the end of the story.
"Do you think that while Jesus was here on earth, He laughed and had fun?"
What would you say? When I asked this to my children, they all responded in chorus with a confident "No." It was obvious we have some work to do on how my children see Jesus. But I think this is a common perception among people of all ages. The importance of Jesus suffering and His sacrifice is of huge eternal significance. And it is serious. However I don't think this should always be translated that Jesus never smiled or laughed or had fun during his years on this earth. The fact that He chose to turn water into wine as his first miracle gives us a slight hint that he was not always somber lacking any humor.
Jesus had a magnetic personality. People were drawn to him by the thousands, including children. The serious religious people of the day hated him because he spent time eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. He was even accused of being a gluttoneous man and a drunkard. We can be sure that he was never intoxicated and so that leaves us the only explaination of this accusation.... he just knew how to have fun naturally. While the Bible never explicitedly says that Jesus laughed, it does tell us that he marveled (John 8:10) and wept in sorrow (John 11:35). In John 1 we are told that the Word became flesh and temporarily camped with us. The Son of God took on humanity so that we could have a high priest who could sympathize with our weeknesses , tempted in all ways, yet never having any sin (Heb 4:16). I would think this would encompass all of the emotions of humanity. The book of Ecclesiates says that God has appointed a time for everything, including "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."
I find humor in many of the stories I read in the New Testament. It may not be in the method of stand up comedy like we are used to in our current culture, but still there is humor to be found. We can find it in the wit and sarcasm that He uses to respond to the legalistic religious rulers of that day. We find it in the story of a group of fisherman catching nothing all night. Then Jesus arrives and tells them to cast the nets down one more time and the nets start to break and the boat starts to sink. Really think about that situation and you will start to smile. I think about the group of men that he traveled with, his disciples and all of their personalities and know Jesus must have had a sense of humor.
What do you think? Ask your children and see what they say. I was surprised by the response of my own kids. It caused me to pause and pursue the subject for myself. I want my children to know that God does want us to pursue holiness but that doesn't mean a life void of laughter and fun. In fact the love and joy of God can be at times best given to others by giving them a reason to laugh.