I have a hard time believing that Jesus always had a sad expression on His face. While artists have often pictured our Savior as a melancholy type personality, do you honestly believe Jesus delivered all eight Beatitudes with a grim, severe, forbidding countenance? How can you say "blessed" eight times in a row without cracking a smile? And is it possible that children, who love to laugh, would be drawn to someone who lacked a sense of humor? I don't think so.
Jesus was very knowledgeable of the Old Testament. He knew the timeless truth stated in Ecc. 3:4, “[There is] a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Of course, Christianity deals with some very serious issues which should never be taken lightly. But that doesn't mean Christians have to be gloomy all the time. I believe there are times when the most spiritual thing you can do is to have a good laugh.
The proverb writer said, "A merry heart does good like medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). With the seriousness of life coupled with the pressures of ministry, the Bible tells us there were times when Jesus pulled His disciples away from the fray to rest. They needed to lighten up a little. They needed to come a part before they came apart! (Mark 6:31)
It has been said, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.” I can see Jesus and the disciples sitting around a campfire telling stories and enjoying moments of leisure and laughter. I wonder if they ever talked about the conversation Baalam had with his donkey in Numbers 22. It's one of the funniest stories in the Bible. "Uh, excuse me sir. Do you realize you are talking to a donkey?!" I wonder if Jesus and the disciples had some fun moments reflecting on the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18? There are some comical lines in there as Elijah made fun of the false god.
I understand that life is serious, the burdens of some are heavy, and the issues facing many are sobering. Add to that the fact that we are living in perilous times. But I also know that in the Lord's presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). And Nehemiah 8:10 adds, "for the joy of the Lord is your strength." In the midst of the seriousness of life, don't forget how to laugh. Don't lose your joy. Keep your perspective. Remember that the trials of this life are temporary. Finally, keep your eyes on Jesus. "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy" (Job 8:21).
Pastor Todd Weston