What’s my favorite part of The Chosen? Hearing Jesus laugh! As I wrote in my book Lighting the World, Jesus laughed! During his life among us, Jesus revealed this part of God’s personality to us as surely as he revealed that God loves us! Jesus loved to laugh. And Jesus loved to hear other people laugh.
As you may know, the series The Chosen is an immensely popular presentation of the life of Jesus as set forth in the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
It’s now in its fourth season. I only started watching it a month ago.
As usual for me, I’m far behind watching shows that I intend to see “someday”. About the only movies that I watch immediately after they come out are Star Trek, Star Wars, and movies that I watch with my 9-year old grandson.
What’s my favorite part of The Chosen?
Hearing Jesus laugh!
In my books, I paint word pictures of Jesus that teach us more about who Jesus is, what God is like, and how we should live than volumes of theological speculations or hundreds of pages of my writings:
—Jesus taking children in his arms, putting his hands on them, and blessing them. (Mark 10:16; Hoping in the LORD, at pages 181-182).
—Jesus welcoming sinners (Luke 15:1-32; Hoping in the LORD, pages 199-202).
—Jesus weeping (John 11:35; Hoping in the LORD, at pages 209-214).
—Jesus washing feet (John 13:12-17; Hoping in the LORD, at pages 241-244).
—Jesus laughing (Lighting the World, at pages 181-185).
And so, when I heard Jesus laughing in The Chosen, I immediately thought of this passage in my book Lighting the World, at pages 181-182 (emphases added):
God’s sense of humor is an aspect of his personality that Christians often overlook. But certainly God would not have created us with the capacity and yearning to laugh unless he wanted us to laugh early and often throughout our lives.
During his life among us, Jesus revealed this part of God’s personality to us as surely as he revealed that God loves us!
Jesus loved to laugh. And Jesus loved to hear other people laugh.
I believe that’s one of the reasons why Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Why people—especially “sinners”—liked Jesus coming to their dinner parties. Why Jesus loved to welcome little children with their giggles and laughter.
It’s easy to remember the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). And it’s right to “weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15 KJV).
But it’s also right to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15).
Therefore, add the image of Jesus laughing to the other word pictures that teach us more about who Jesus is, what God is like, and how we should live than volumes of theological speculations and hundreds of pages of my writings.
That’s why, when I think about what it was like to walk with Jesus 2000 years ago, a passage from Latourette’s A History of Christianity (Vol. 1, page 46) about Jesus’s wonderful sense of humor often comes to my mind. Latourette wrote (emphasis added):
Jesus had a keen sense of humour which again and again bubbles out irrepressibly, all the more striking because it is in contrast with the complete absence of humour in those writings of the Christians of the first century that have been preserved in the New Testament.
He had a keen eye for the ridiculous and could make startling what he saw—the self-righteous man with the huge beam in his eye essaying to pluck out a mere speck in his neighbour’s eye; the solemn and meticulous legalist who was so conscientious about details and yet so blind to great moral issues that he was like a man who, anxious lest he be contaminated by his food and drink, would painstakingly strain out the most minute gnat and then, without blinking, swallow an entire camel, hair, hoofs, humps, and offensive breath.
He laughed at children playing in the market place, especially those who, pouting, refused to join in the sport, even when their companions were quite willing to adjust the game to meet their wishes.
His questions to the crowds about John the Baptist—“What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? . . . a man clothed in soft raiment?”—must have provoked laughter, so purposely contrary were they to what all of his hearers knew.
In many ways, it is hard to be like Jesus. Touching lepers. Welcoming sinners. Washing feet. Being tortured and crucified.
But here is an easy, joyful way to be like Jesus.
Tell jokes. Laugh at jokes. Laugh at parties. Laugh with children.
In the Way of Jesus, let’s go and do likewise.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
What makes you laugh?
When do you laugh? How? Why?
When do you make people laugh? How? Why?
For related thoughts, please read my blogs “Neelix: Specks and Planks”, “Come and See the Promised Land: Jesus Weeping”, “The Webb Space Telescope: Seeing Jesus Better”, “Pandemic Wisdom: The Voices of Children”, “Bad Jokes”, “Hypocrisy: Specks and Planks”, “Jesus Embodies Hesed—Sowing the Ideals of the Law of Moses and the Prophets”, “Places of Worship—Praying and Singing Hymns in ‘Prisons’”, “Places of Worship—Rainbows”.