Reports are often published in newspapers of people who believe that statues of Jesus have been weeping real tears. But very rarely – if ever – do we hear of laughter being heard from those statues. Why is it that Jesus is always thought to be so sad?
This unexpected image shows Jesus roaring with laughter. Maybe he’s laughing at one of his own parables.
Sadly, the laughter of Jesus isn’t recorded in the Gospels. While one famous verse tells us that “Jesus wept”, there’s no verse which tells us, “Jesus laughed”.
But his parables and saying show that Jesus had a playful – and sometimes wicked – sense of humour. He had a nice line in camel jokes, for instance. “Ever hear the one about the camel trying to squeeze through the eye of a needle?” he asked. “Or the camel that fell in someone’s drink without them even noticing?” The laughter of Jesus shown in the picture above reminds us that Jesus was a real, flesh-and-blood human being. Some people of his time thought he had a bit too much fun, calling him a glutton and a drunkard.
This picture of Jesus laughing has another side to it, though. Although no one knows who made the picture, it is said to come from Latin America and is popular among poor communities. Despite the poverty and injustice suffered by poor people around the world, this image of Jesus speaks of hope, that the chains of oppression will be broken and people and communities will be free to become all that they are meant to be.
As Jesus himself said: “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:21). The laughter of Jesus is the laughter of hope and joy in the face of despair.
I would like to have the men of Heaven
In my own house:
With vats of good cheer
laid out for them.
I would like to have the three Marys,
Their fame is so great.
I would like people
From every corner of Heaven.
I would like them to be cheerful
In their drinking.
I would like to have Jesus too
Here amongst them.
I would like a great lake of beer
For the King of Kings,
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family
Drinking it through all eternity.
Celtic poem from 10th century Ireland
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Christians have been making images of Jesus since the early centuries of the church. In this section, we look at pictures of the face of Christ – some of them centuries old, some of them from today.
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