Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Did Jesus Have Fun?

As I read the New Testament and particularly the gospels, I find myself wondering if Jesus had a sense of humor, and did He like to have fun? It's a worthy question, but any kind of answer is buried, I think, in the nature of inspiration and how the Word of God was delivered to men.

To be sure, there are books in the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, that are fraught with emotion. Jeremiah the prophet was a man given to sorrow and it comes through strongly in his prophecies, but one has to wonder if he is merely relaying the sorrow of God Himself over the behavior of His people.

The momentary illicit passions of David in a difficult time is portrayed masterfully in 2 Samuel and God's response via the prophet, Nathan, is superbly illustrated.

But with Jesus, the gospel writers seem to be very matter of fact and almost emotionless as they relay the events of Christ's life to us. To be sure, Jesus was a man of many sorrows. He bore the burden of the world on His shoulders even as He tried to bring hope to a people hopelessly lost in their sins. There is so much about Him in the gospels and most of it seems to be very serious and pointed toward making people see that they need to come back to God and realize the desperateness of their situation. And that is as it should be.

But if you look closely....if you try to read His life in first century eyes...you can find humor, irony, sarcasm and even satire in His life and most especially the Stories that He tells.

One of event comes to mind. In Matthew 14:27-33, the disciples are on the sea of Galilee on a boat when it suddenly gets very windy. It is so bad that there lives are in peril. Jesus, who was not with them, walked out onto the wind tossed lake to bring them hope. Peter sees him and asks to join Him on the water. And for me, this is where hilarity ensues. Peter is always all full of himself, especially when others are watching. Jesus knows this and He also knows that Peter is perceived as a leader in the group, so Jesus accedes to Peter's request and invites him to step out of the boat. You all know the result. My personal amplification of the Matthew passage goes something like this...

Jesus: "Guys, chill out. Everything will be fine. It's Me. I'm here."

Peter: "Lord, It's you? Can I walk out there with you? Let me try"

Jesus: Big smile on his face. Almost laughing. " Really? That might be fun. Step on out. Take a walk with Me"   

Peter: "Wow...amazing. My feet are barely touching the water. I feel lighter than air"

Jesus: Now laughing. "Dude, quit lookin at the water. Keep your eyes on Me or you will go down. I'm tellin ya..

But it was too late. He was already sinking, but Jesus...He did what He always does...He saved Simon Peter. Then, with a smile on His face and an arm around a wet, embarrassed Simon Peter Jesus says, "you doubted Me. Where is your faith man? You've seen what I can do. Why didn't you trust Me? It's OK. You've come a long ways. I know there was a day when you wouldn't have even gotten out of the boat! I am so proud of you. Next time, you will know what to do. I love you."

That's the way it plays out in my mind when I read it. Jesus does have a personality. He has a sense of humor and a deep sense of empathy for us as men and women. He feels our joys, our sorrows, our pain and He allows us to cling to him when we are sinking in life's turmoils. He is there for us. We are His little brothers and sisters and He takes much pleasure in teaching us and yes, I'm sure He laughs at us from time to time.  

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