I know that Jesus wept. Where can I find in the bible that Jesus expressed joy, laughter or happiness?
The classic book on this subject is The Humor of Christ by Elton Trueblood. While it is true that the Scripture rarely tells Jesus' emotion, there are considerable places in Scripture where Jesus is most likely making a joke:
- When the Syrophoenician woman quips back that even the dogs get the crumbs
- When the Pharisees strain out the gnats but swallow a camel
- When Jesus describes the Pharisees as the blind leading the blind
Additionally, we may not have 'Jesus laughed," but we know that Jesus loved a party:
- His first miracle was at a party, turning water into wine (and embarrassing Baptists ever since).
- Matthew 9:15 "Jesus replied, "Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast." - basically telling the Pharisees to lighten up about the fact that the disciples weren't fasting.
- Numerous parables about wedding feasts. This was almost a staple of the genre.
And, finally, Jesus upbraids the Pharisees for their double-mindedness on the subject of fun in Matthew 11:16 - 19:
To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17“ ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Luke 10:21 On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will.
Here Jesus is rejoicing in the wisdom, and beauty, and grace of God, and how could He do anything but smile when He uttered those words? Certainly He smiled as He rejoiced.
Matt. 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
One can't imagine little children be hugged by Him if He just sat there glum and gloomy.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus surely must have smiled quite often when He considered all that was to follow. There is great rejoicing in heaven when a soul is saved and one can imagine Jesus was able to see the fruit of His suffering as great joy.
We also know from the scriptures that Jesus had great love for His disciples, especially John; and also for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We know that when we are with those we love most dearly here on Earth, our spouse, our children, family and friends; we are most filled with joy, and cannot help but smile.
Bible doesn't use modern narrative devices to describe action or expression. If we read the Bible, we would not see a description of Abraham laughing, or Paul laughing, or Peter laughing. We cannot think of a line in the Bible like, "Isaac smiled fondly as he saw his beautiful wife emerge from the tent." It just doesn't happen. Those sentences, while they help paint a picture, are a product of our modern obsession with appearance. We know Isaac loved his wife, and we can assume that because he was human he smiled at her. We don't need to hear it.
To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson:
A TASTE for fun is all but universal in our species, which is the only joker in Nature. The rocks, the plants, the beasts, the birds, neither do anything ridiculous, nor betray a perception of anything absurd done in their presence. And as the lower nature does not jest, neither does the highest. The Reason pronounces its omniscient yea and nay, but meddles never with degrees or fractions; and it is in comparing fractions with essential integers or wholes that laughter begins.
That is how Bible reveals the divinity of Jesus.
The long and the short, is that you won't. Clearly he had to (it would be inhuman to live to adulthood without having laughed). The Teaching Company has a set on comparative religion (I think), which makes the point:
The Buddha never weeps, but he laughs. Jesus never laughs, but he weeps.
But far from this being a case of "Christ's message is so depressing", I think it is the opposite: Jesus' work is so cheerful that the one time he does weep is a profound exception.
According to Hebrews 1 - Jesus was the happiest guy who ever lived, happier than anyone else and happier than any of his friends. He was the most joyful person he knew. It would be basically impossible for him to be joyful but not smile or laugh. The Hebrews verse is a quote from the Psalms that is interpreted as applying to Jesus personally.
Hebrews 1:9 - You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else." (NLT)
Hebrews 1:9 - "YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS." (NASB)
Also, Psalm 16:11 - In His presence is fullness of joy.
This is why sinners liked Jesus because he was joyful, but didn't much like the Pharisees and many Christians today
One could also interpret Psalm 126:2 as connecting to Jesus - "Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”"
It relates to the captives being freed from exile, but Jesus freeing us from sin is an even greater source of joy than being freed from Babylon
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
I think a very strong argument can be made that if there was a question of hindering children from going to Jesus, that Jesus must have been fun to be around, for the children. He must have been playful and loving toward them or they would not have been attracted to him.
Yes, we speculate; with good intention, when God's Word does not actually tell us something we assume by our own intelligence. :) God does not tell us in His Holy Word that The Christ Jesus smiled. We cannot understand how The Holy Spirit works. His mysterious work in you; us. The joy this; The Comforter, brings to all that believe in Him. Whether The Christ Jesus smiled or not is insignificant. By His covenant, power, strength, and His faithfulness (not ours) by which all things are possible - this gives everyone reason to smile.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)
Sadly, the shortest verse in the bible is "Jesus wept." (John 11:35). So to answer your question TRUTHFULLY (John 17:17), there are ZERO scriptures that specifically mention Jesus actually/physically laughing; there is a huge difference between "laughing" & various scriptures assuming/implying Jesus was "smiling". Do you think Jesus was laughing during Numbers 31:17-18 and Mark 7:10???