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Jesus laughed

Updated on April 12, 2012

Did Jesus laugh?

For two thousand years the world has been fascinated by a Middle-Eastern legend. A small group of Galileans led by a man named יְהוֹשֻׁעַ(Yehoshua) went around their part of Judaea preaching a return to the fundamental precepts of the Pharisee sect. Their leader, who would become known by the Greek version of his name Iesous eventually anglicized into Jesus, was captured. He was tried and convicted of insurrection. The traditional method of execution for insurrection against Rome was crucifixion. Jesus was crucified according to Roman law with the nature of his crime affixed to the top of the cross. Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) In other words, he declared himself a King without Roman approval.

That should have been the end of it. There was nothing unusual in his philosophy and Judaea, at that time, had a number of Messiahs all wanting to kick the Romans out and establish a fundamentalist theocratic state. (The Kingdom of God on Earth) Then there appeared stories of an empty tomb and of resurrection. Jesus became, like the incarnations of Krishna in Indian traditions, God himself. With one glaring omission; He had no sense of humor. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) but where does it say “Jesus laughed”?

Jesus Laughed


The Four Canonical Gospels

The four Gospels contain a number of humorous references. Those jokes and one-liners have been carefully sanitized over the years. Partly because it is particularly Jewish humor and contains some “In Jokes” but mainly because the austere tradition, in which early Christianity developed, could not imagine God laughing. Direct references to Jesus laughing, or at least smiling, can be found in those texts which were read and held sacred by early Christian communities. In time they were excluded by the more popular denominations and so were removed from Orthodox scripture.

An example of how the humor of Jesus has been sanitized is found in Mathew chapter 19. Here a rich young man asks how he can get to Heaven. When he is unwilling to give his wealth to the poor Jesus says "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

It has been consistently taught that there was some kind of customs gate into Jerusalem. Where, in order for a camel to enter it must take off all its goods and hobble through on its knees. Not true folks. There never was such a gate. Jesus was kidding, it was hyperbole. Read it again, and you can imagine Jesus with a wry smile making that statement and his followers chuckling. Just like the story of the man with a beam of wood in his eye trying to get a speck of dust out of someone else’s eye. Just like the blind leading the blind until they all fall in a ditch. This is humor, deliberate exaggeration to raise a chuckle. The trouble is they have all been analyzed and dissected over the centuries. Christianity has developed a God who never giggled. That was not always the case.

The Other Gospels

It is hardly credible that the only people to write about the events in Galilee at the start of the Christian era were the handful of people mentioned as authors in the New Testament. There are a number of other texts that have come to light. Dated from the early Christian era they present a different view to the traditional one.

The Gospel of Philip:

Primarily a collection of Theological statements; Chapter 74 v 30-35 contains;

“And as soon as Christ went down into the water he came out laughing at everything of this world, not because he considers it a trifle, but because he is full of contempt for it. He who wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven will attain it”

The Apocalypse of Peter:

This document claims to be a revelation given to Peter explained by Jesus. This book reveals the intention of God regarding the end of the world. It is in the same genre as the “Apocalypse” or “Revelations” in the New Testament.

Chapter 81 v 16-19 contains; “The Savior said to me. ‘He whom you saw on the tree, glad with laughing, this is the living Jesus.”

Chapter 82 V 4-5 contains; “And I saw someone about to approach us resembling him, even him who was laughing on the tree.”

Chapter 82 v 27 “But he who stands near him is the living savior, the first in him, whom they seized and released, who stands joyfully looking at those who did him violence, while they are divided among themselves. Therefore he laughs at their lack of perception, knowing that they are born blind.”

The Sophia of Jesus Christ:

This is basically a tract. It combines a number of early Christian Theologies mostly from the Gnostic tradition.

Chapter 91 v 25 “The savior laughed and said to them; What are you thinking about? Why are you perplexed?”

The second treatise of the great Seth:

One of the early Gnostic scriptures, it is in the form of a dialogue allegedly spoken by Jesus. The name “Seth” does not appear anywhere in the work only in the title. It is assumed that for “Seth” read “Jesus”

Chapter 53 v 32 “But I (Jesus) laughed joyfully when I examined his empty glory.”

Chapter 56 v 19 “And I was laughing at their ignorance”

What If?

Christianity has shaped the culture and belief systems of the western world. That small group of Galileans changed history and placed the Hebrew God at the center of Theology. The result has been wars and the burning alive of those who disagreed. There have been schisms and quarrels that still haunt the religions of the world. It is often entertaining, and sometimes instructive, to play a “What if?” game. What if Christianity had followed a different path? What if other scriptures were included in the canon? What if Christianity was based around a joyful God, A God who laughed? Would history have been very different if, instead of crying with Christ, Christians had giggled with God?


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    • iantoPF profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Freeman 

      6 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Seafarer Mama; I appreciate your comments and I value your wisdom............Namaste

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      6 years ago from New England

      That is a very interesting perspective to take. :0) I suppose the most important thing is the wisdom he left behind...a great legacy that has made him immortal in the best possible way....yet I do believe that he died and rose...somehow, I believe in a God of that type of possibility...and it informs my sense of personal freedom on a deeply spiritual level. :0)


    • iantoPF profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Freeman 

      6 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Hello Karen; Thank you for reading my article and thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      You and Vegas are correct about the tradition, held by many, that Jesus traveled extensively before beginning his mission. The English Poet, William Blake, wrote "And did those feet in ancient times, walk upon England's pastures green" There are branches of Islam that say Jesus did not die on the cross but lived out his life in ndia and have a shrine to his burial place there.

      I am coming to the conclusion that the historical Jesus may actually be a composite.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      6 years ago from New England

      I've enjoyed this hub very much. The gnostic gospels and studying the history of the Christian church does illuminate some fascinating details.

      I am aware of the gnostic gospel of Thomas, but was unaware of Philip's and Peter's. I was raised as a Roman Catholic and before switching membership to a UU church with a pagan circle, I practiced Catholicism in a rather progressive/liberal community in Boston. :0) Some of my impressions are that Jesus had to have a sense of humor because he was human. He did not cut himself off from his own humanity in order to aspire to reflect the divine. I personally believe that having compassion and having a sense of humor are closely woven together in the human experience.

      Reading some literature about the belief of the gnostics, there is much discussion of Jesus having been educated and having traveled a bit before his ministry. He seemed to find it essential to get to know other faith traditions as part of his spiritual education, and to glean their wisdom. Often, I have seen his teachings compared to Buddha's. I would believe that he may have tried to convince the Hindus to give up their caste system.

      Yes,I think too many people with only partial knowledge have tried to "own" the bible, especially the New Testament, and to "own" Christianity. They do not know what it is to be a Christian more than anyone else, and is using Christianity for their own gain as much as the Romans did. It's so sad to watch. I try to just make the world a better place by how I treat others in my own small corner of the world.

    • iantoPF profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Freeman 

      6 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Thank you very much again Vegas. I appreciate thoughtful and considered commentary. You may be interested in another Hub I wrote about the Bhagavad Gita.

      The history of Christianity does fascinate me as does history in general.

    • Vegas Elias profile image

      Vegas Elias 

      6 years ago from Mumbai

      I presume we cannot debate and should not in fact. I have read certain historical records which show evidence of the visit of Jesus and Mary his mother to Egypt but the events are so few that it is difficult to believe that that is all Jesus did staying in Egypt for 18 years till he came back to Galilee. In Ladakh, Tibet there are records that Jesus visited a Buddhist monastery and lived there for quite some time after He was driven away from Haridwar in India where He angered the High caste brahmins by preaching equality of humans. I am in no way giving credence to these reports which are non-verifiable. At the same time I am also aware of lot of falsification of both Roman records as well as Hindu records to suit their own purposes.

      However given the fact that Jesus was an educated person who organised his campaign much better than anyone would do even today (First sending out 72 disciples to pave the way for his ministry then appointing a core group of 12 trusted friends) I feel very much convinced that He might have gone up to the root or idol worship which was and is India which had afflicted his society namely the Romans who ruled them and the other pagans.

      We have to actually ask for spiritual guidance to understand Jesus well. His words, His history and almost everything has been twisted by the followers of the devil.

    • iantoPF profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Freeman 

      6 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Hello Vegas and thank you for taking the time to read and to be the first to comment on my article.

      I am not aware of any evidence that Jesus went anywhere outside his community except for the flight into Egypt after his birth. There really is no evidence of Jesus at all outside of the Bible. Though there is plenty of independent evidence for the things surrounding the story. It makes for a fascinating legend. I appreciate your comments.

    • Vegas Elias profile image

      Vegas Elias 

      6 years ago from Mumbai

      A very thoughtful and well researched article indeed. I have read the agnostic gospels and other literature mentioned by you. The Christianity we know today is not what was intended by Christ; a fact which I am well convinced. However I have to contradict you on one count; That is, that The Jesus mentioned in the scriptures was not confined to Galilee. He was educated, and a well traveled person. I would not be surprised to find one day that Jesus indeed traveled even to the American on board ships. He good 18 years to prepare himself before he actually assaulted the Roman Empire. The tragedy is that That very Roman Empire succeeded in overtaking and distorting Christianity.


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