I came across an interesting discussion about Jesus and laughter referring to the following quote:
“Envision Jesus with His disciples. If you cannot picture Him teasing them and laughing with them, you need to reevaluate your understanding of the Incarnation. We need a biblical theology of humor that prepares us for an eternity of celebration and spontaneous laughter.” —Randy Alcorn, from his award-winning book “Heaven”, on whether we will laugh on the New Earth
The Bible does not specifically state that Jesus laughed. But that does not mean that to laugh is a bad thing or that Jesus himself did not laugh. Like Marie pointed out in Neil’s comments; children were/are drawn to Jesus and children themselves are generally full of joy and laughter. Jesus himself was a child.
There are several verses that speak of laughter in a good light.
Genesis 21:6 “Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”-(referring to Isaac himself but also laughter).
Psalm 126:2-3 “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”-(celebration and joy)
Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” -(in context with the rest of the chapter this is a good thing)
Also, I think that these verses indicate joy, smiling, and possibly laughter (confirming what Dan said in Neil’s comments about laughter being medicine to the soul):
Proverbs 15:13 “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”
Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
All that being said; I agree with Timothy’s statement: “Jesus was too burdened with the will of the Father to play the fool or even practical jokes.” But again that does not mean he didn’t laugh in general conversation or did not have some fun. You can laugh and have fun without it involving practical jokes or making someone a fool. If/when Jesus laughed; it would not have been at someone else’s expense but with others out of rejoicing and joy that comes from a cheerful heart!
The following definitions are taken from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
REJOICE, To experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Prov. 29. I will rejoice in thy salvation. Ps. 9. REJOICE, To make joyful; to gladden; to animate with lively pleasurable sensations; to exhilarate. Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father. Prov. 29. While she, great saint, rejoices heaven.
JOY, 1. The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune,the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits. Joy is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good. Bring heavenly balm to heal my country’s wounds, Joy to my soul and transport to my lay. 2. Gayety; mirth; festivity. The roofs with joy resound. 3. Happiness; felicity. Her heavenly form beheld, all wished her joy. 4. A glorious and triumphant state. –Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross. Heb.12. 5. The cause of joy or happiness. For ye are our glory and joy. 1 Thess 2. 6. A term of fondness; the cause of you.
CHEERFUL, 1. Lively; animated; having good spirits; moderately joyful. This is the most usual signification of the word, expressing a degree of animation less than mirth and jollity. 2. Full of life; gay; animated; mirthful; musical; as the cheerful birds. 3. Expressive of good spirits or joy; lively; animated. A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance. Prov. 15.
I think that Timothy’s main point is that we need to be careful not to make a doctrine out of something that is not specifically addressed in scripture.
What are your thoughts?