Does Jesus Have a Sense of Humor?

Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is like us in every way except sin. This includes having a sense of humor.

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There is a scene from The Chosen where Jesus and his guys attend to the needs of a crippled man and his family. Not coincidentally, the man is the robber who attacked a stranger along a road at night and left him for dead—this from the parable of the Good Samaritan. 

At the end of the scene, Jesus says that they have to get back to town because you never know “who you might meet along the road at night.” There is a pregnant pause. Did He really say that? Then Jesus places His palms up, shrugs His shoulders, and deadpans, “Too soon?” 

This scene seems to have annoyed a few grumpy Catholics who think that Jesus does not have a sense of humor, and even if He does, He never shows it. 

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There are three questions to consider. Does Jesus have a sense of humor? Does Jesus express this sense of humor by actually laughing? Does Jesus deliberately make others laugh? 

There are other scenes in The Chosen that have irked the grumpsters. 

Jesus reads the soul of the Samaritan woman at the well. She invites Jesus and His guys to stay in her home at Sychar. Told that one of the rooms is haunted, Jesus smiles and playfully says, “I’ll take that one.” 

Yet another scene shows Jesus coming up behind His dear friend Lazarus. Lazarus is one of Jesus’ closest friends. Recall that Jesus weeps when Lazarus dies, and He raises Him from the dead. In this scene, Jesus comes up behind His best friend and pushes Him, just like guy friends do. Utterly charming. Utterly human. 

We must admit, none of these instances are biblical. G.K. Chesterton argues that Jesus shows His entire humanity in Sacred Scripture with the exception of mirth. It certainly seems that Red Letter Jesus did not express humor. 

But how would this be possible? He is fully human, and He certainly could not be one of those drab, humorless people whose humorlessness is a stark deficiency. Are critics arguing that Jesus is one of those?

Does Jesus express this sense of humor by smiling and even laughing? The proposition is that on this earth Jesus did not smile or laugh in the company of children, who were plentiful around Him. Is this remotely possible? 

Are we to believe that He did not smile or laugh at the sight of cats wrestling or a monkey leaping. Nature can be very funny. It is hard to believe that He did not take joy in His creation even unto laughter. 

Finally, does Jesus make people laugh? Is He funny? Calling two of His best friends “Sons of Thunder” is pretty funny. Giving nicknames is a form of affection and even humor. You can hear the others says, “Sons of Thunder! It’s perfect for those two guys.” This was borne out when James and John wanted to rain fire down upon the Samaritans. That in itself is fairly comical. “Whoa, settle down, boys.”  Does Jesus make people laugh? Is He funny? Tweet This

It could be that Jesus is even making a comment about the mother of James and John. Remember when they were walking up to Jerusalem on that fateful weekend. He called the 12 away alone and told them what was about to happen. The mother of James and John barges into this intimate scene and demands that her boys sit on His right and left. She is the perfect Jewish mother from literature, pushing her boys forward! Maybe she was “Thunder,” and they were her sons. Funnier still.  

Are there any other examples of Red Letter Jesus possibly making people laugh? Consider “a log in your eye,” “a camel through the eye of a needle,” “the blind leading the blind,” “straining out a gnat, then swallowing a camel.” You can see people nodding and even chuckling at these clever turns of phrase. 

Chesterton’s admonition that in Sacred Scripture Jesus showed all but mirth is wrong. Moreover, he’s being more than a bit sola scriptura, more than a little Protestant. It seems clear and certainly not heretical that Jesus made people laugh—and that He meant to. 

Consider also that Jesus is Jewish, and consider the Jews have always been funny. Look at the Old Testament. 

In Second Chronicles, “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.” You can hear the humor and maybe a shrug of the shoulders in “to no one’s regret.” This is a delivery that any Catskills comedian would admire. 

Psalm 2 teaches us that “He that sits in the heavens shall laugh.” Psalm 32 says “The Lord laughs at the wicked.” 

Proverbs tells us that entering into someone else’s argument is like “grabbing the ears of a dog.” That’s funny to all except the humorless. 

In 1 Kings, Elijah ridicules the priests of Baal who are trying in vain to call down fire. “Shout louder,” he says, “perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling; or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” Hilarious. 

Chronicles, Psalms, Kings, Proverbs—all Old Testament, all strong arguments that God had a sense of humor and showed it. 

One of the great scandals of all time was that God Himself came down to earth and became one of us. He is fully God and fully man. Some people cannot stand that. He cannot possibly be like us in every way except sin. It offends some that Jesus might have laughed. I cannot fathom that. 

We are told that this Jesus, this “Chosen Jesus,” this Jesus of laughter, is not The Jesus, not our Jesus, not the Jesus of the Fathers. This Jesus is a 1970s felt-banner-oh-so-groovy heretical good-guy Jesus. After all, the real Jesus would never deign to sit down and have a cup of coffee or, egad, a beer with the likes of us. I think all of us will be a little shocked at how little we know of Him when we finally meet Him face to face. 

One final argument for His sense of humor which is ongoing. Here’s the proof: He chose us. That is hilarious. He chose you and me to do His work on earth. And we are so lame and even laughable. 

It is perfectly fine if some people think Jesus is not funny. Ultimately, this belief does not matter to anyone’s salvation. However, I think it is a tad heretical to think that He was ever grumpy. He was righteously angry, certainly, but never grumpy. That’s a lesson Catholics these days ought to internalize.


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