Updated: Jan 27, 2020
"Can Jesus enjoy a joke at his own expense? If not, what kind of person is he?" (John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw p.21)
Well...? Can he? Our answer to that question may reveal more about our own religiosity than we care to admit. If it offends us, we may need to take a closer look at who this man really is.
If you've never had a good laugh with Jesus, I'm so sorry. I hate that you're missing out on the playfulness of our God. Wasn't it God who named Abraham's son Isaac? And what does the name Isaac mean? Right, it means laughter. I can almost see God peering out from behind the thicket that caught the sacraficial Ram as Abraham lowered his knife, "Gotcha!" Okay, maybe I took that a little too far, but still..
I love how Eldredge rebukes our religious piety, by calling to our attention the fact that Jesus indeed, pooped his diapers (or swadlings). He drank wine with sinners, skinned his knees as a child, shed tears and got angry. No doubt he hit his thumb a few times with a hammer or tripped on a rock on one of his countless journeys. Why has the church gone to such lengths to sanitize his incarnation?
I love the beauty and mystery of Orthodox iconography. However, even though I've read the theological answers as to why the icons don't smile, I couldn't disagree more. Displaying no "natural emotion", is in fact displaying an emotion...it's called aloofness and or sombreness. When Jesus rose from the dead, He did not loose his scars. Why then should he loose his humanity, his natural emotions, as if he has transcended being that which he not only incarnated, but who He created in his own image? Fully God, Fully man (smiles and all)!