Yesterday I did an interview that started with our need as “worldly saints” to enjoy the pleasures of earth, ran forward on the fact that Jesus is fully human, then spun sideways on whether or not Jesus has a sense of humor. The host was sure that he does. He said he could imagine Jesus touching a disciple’s chest and asking, “What is this?” only to smack the fellow in the face when he looked down. That seemed like Junior High Jesus to me. If true, it might explain why Judas finally turned him in.
Then last night I had a dream. I don’t put much stock in my dreams, and you’re about to see why. I dreamed that Jesus had begun making regular appearances to my group of friends. He would show up and sit around our table. He even came to hear me preach. But he never spoke, at least not to me. Someone asked why I didn’t try to talk to him. I said, “I don’t know what to say. How do you make small talk with the man who died for your sins?”
I remember dreaming that I didn’t care much for Jesus’ personality. He seemed plastic and bland. Sort of like the Jesus that Philip Yancey warned us about. I was glad that he saved me from hell, but he wasn’t someone I wanted to spend time with. He could be my personal Savior, just not my personal Savior. Don’t judge me. It was just a dream.
What is my takeaway? First, don’t eat chips and salsa and then peaches and cottage cheese before bed. If you do, make sure you take very good notes, whatever happens next.
Second, it seems that Jesus must have a personality. And this personality must be funny. Jesus is the Creator, so the proboscis monkey, aye-aye, and sucker-footed bat were his idea. He obviously has a sense of humor. But humor is often divisive. What one person finds funny another person finds annoying. Many jokes are bound to offend someone. Did Jesus ever have to say, “I’m sorry you took it that way. That’s not what I meant?”
You probably haven’t thought much about it, but I suspect that most of us assume Jesus’ humor is a lot like ours, only more so. Some people have an Uptight Jesus whose touch is about as light as whoever made that Super Bowl ad for Nationwide. Others may worship Clean Double Entendre Jesus, Limerick Jesus, or Punning Jesus. How is one Jesus going to satisfy everyone’s taste in humor and personality types?
The question itself betrays a narcissistic, psychologically obsessed, western perspective. Only a spoiled American would wonder whether Jesus will meet their emotional needs. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me if I hadn’t been dreaming. I have some more thoughts on this, but I’d like to hear what you think. If you comment, do so on the blog rather than Facebook, so everyone can join the same conversation.