This article takes a brief look at some funny events and humor that occurred during the Lord's ministry. In spite of what some may believe, Jesus was not sorrowful and deadly serious during his physical life on earth. He lived his life knowing there was a proper time for everything including humor (Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 8).
It is logical to conclude that our sense of humor originated from the two Beings, God the Father and Jesus Christ, who decided what our collective abilities and characteristics would be. Since humans can find certain things funny, and make humorous comments from time to time, so can God!
Unfortunately, some of those who study the Bible can become so familiar with its verses that they forget to step back and consider what they read from a different perspective. This article reveals how humor played an active role in the life of our Savior Jesus.
The sons of commotion
Jesus used a bit sarcasm and a bunch of good-natured humor when he selected his innermost twelve disciples. Found only in the book of Mark, he jokingly renamed James and John (who were brothers) with the title "Boanerges" (Mark 3:17, KJV). This nickname means "sons of thunder" or "sons of commotion." It was no doubt given as a humorous recognition of their sometimes misplaced and impulsive behavior, and well as their over-the-top zeal that would be manifested during his ministry (see Luke 9:51 - 55, Mark 9:38, 10:35 - 45).
A log in the eye
In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exercised his humor when he stated, "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but pay no attention to the log in your own eye? . . . First take the log out of your own eye . . ." (Luke 6:41 - 42, TEV). A small child reading the above verses would laugh at the idea of a man with a big wood beam in his eye trying to find something small on another person. Literally, these verses appear ludicrous and silly, which is exactly the point! He is using a funny, exaggerated analogy to teach humility and that we ought not to pick on the tiny flaws we see in others.
We have finally found one!
Jesus shows us his sense of humor, early in his ministry, soon after he calls Philip. When Philip tells Nathanael that the Messiah has been found he sarcastically replies, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).
The Lord, as Nathanael approaches to meet him states, “Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn't deceitful" (John 1:47, CEV)! The slight sarcasm comes from the fact that Israel's original name, Jacob, meant someone who is full of guile or who deceives. Jesus, playing off Nathanael's criticism, is humorously noting that, finally, an Israelite has been found who is not like his ancestor!
We find Christ displaying his funny side again when he partakes of a quick conversation with a Gentile woman who interrupted his meal. Kneeling near him, the woman begged to have a demon cast out of her daughter (Mark 7:25 - 26). Jesus refused her request by stating, "The children must first be fed! It isn't right to take away their food and feed it to dogs" (verse 27). His statement refers to the fact that he was sent to primarily save the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24). He playfully challenges the woman by calling her a "dog," a dismissive term Jews used to refer to non-Israelites. She responds with a wry answer that brings the granting of her request.
Good, clean humor celebrates the goodness of God. It is the key component to joy, one of the primary attributes of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from our Father (Galatians 5:22 - 23). The Christian walk should be a joyful one. God the Father and Jesus do indeed have a healthy sense of humor and do laugh! We, therefore, can be assured that even after we are resurrected from the dead we will continue to have one as well.