When you think about Jesus, do you think about joy?
I do, but I haven’t always.
I used to imagine him telling his parables with a straight face and a bit of displeasure; always peeved at someone or something. Just putting up with the human race. You know, the Grumpy Cat Jesus.
But as I’ve come to know him better, I’ve discovered that he’s actually quite playful, hilarious, and fun to be around.
Who do think invented humor, laughter, and joy? Please, don’t give Satan that much credit.
Jesus knew how to have a good time. Scripture says he came eating and drinking and was accused of being a glutton and drunkard (Luke 7:34). His first miracle was at a party for crying out loud (John 2: 1-11). And when it came to his agenda, he said he was interested in helping people experience the most vibrant, incredible, full-of-life life possible (John 10:10). How’s that for a grump?
When his disciples returned from a successful mission, Luke says that Jesus was full of joy through the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21). And get this: when his Spirit resides in us, one of the main results is that we’re full of joy, too. Read it for yourself.
Here’s the thing: I think that if we had been on earth when Jesus was, heard him teach, spent some time together, we would have been struck by how many stories he told with a wink, how many smiles he gave to strangers, how much grace he had for sinners, and how downright winsome he was. We might have said, “Here’s a likeable guy. He’s got something that I don’t, and I want it.”
Did Jesus ever get angry? Sure, at the self-righteous, hypocritical, religious crowd. But that’s only because they represented him so poorly and took others down them them.
When he said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Luke 19:14), do you think he proceeded to give the kids a stern lecture? I bet he stooped down, offered a huge grin, asked them their names, and maybe told some stories with the little ones on his lap.
If you don’t know Jesus like this, he’s waiting. Don’t let the stuffy churches, religious people, and rules you’ve encountered fool you – Jesus is joyous.