By Rick Warren
— June 26, 2011
I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. John 17:13-14 (NIV)
Have you ever considered that Jesus laughed? Can you imagine him as a joyful man, full of humor? Perhaps his eyes twinkled with grace and acceptance?
Jesus said he wanted to pass the full measure of his joy to those who believe in him (John 17:13).
If we’re always frowning and glowering, is it any surprise that non-believers have difficulty understanding how Jesus brings us into a joyful, abundant life?
I once interviewed Bruce Marchiano, the actor who played Jesus in The Gospel According to Matthew. He said the greatest surprise he found in playing Jesus was portraying him with joy. Bruce said most portraits of Jesus show him as constantly serious; yet, the Gospels reveal Jesus to be full of joy and compassion.
One scene in The Gospel According to Matthew shows Jesus, portrayed by Bruce, healing a man and they both fall on the ground hugging and laughing. It is a joyous moment for Jesus as he gives the man new health, and it is a joyous moment for the man as he receives this gift from Jesus.
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is known for its bloody presentation of Christ’s final hours, but one scene that is often overlooked is Jesus in a playful conversation with his mother, Mary. He smiles and laughs.
Back in the 1960s, Playboy magazine printed a drawing of Jesus—laughing. Although the magazine’s philosophy stood counter to God, their point was that Jesus must have been a joyful man, because who would be attracted to a frowning, judgmental teacher? They were also reacting to a world full of frowning, judgmental Christians.
Jesus came enjoying life and he wants us to enjoy life too (Matthew 11:19). Becoming like Jesus includes learning to laugh and smile with the full measure of his joy.
Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace.
Take a look at this new curriculum from Saddleback Resources: Raising Your Kids without Raising Your Blood Pressure.
This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.