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Did Jesus Ever Smile

 
Recently our family watched a great movie called “Risen.”  It’s a story about a fictional Roman soldier named Clavius, a tribune ranked above centurions who is charged by Pilate to find the body of Jesus after Jewish rulers claimed it was stolen from the grave.  Without spoiling the plot too much, Clavius searches high and low before discovering Jesus with His disciples, and a profound  transformation of the battle-hardened soldier takes place.   I strongly recommend the movie, but the relevant point here is simply that the Jesus portrayed in this powerful movie is almost always smiling!
 
Have you ever stopped to wonder what Jesus really looked like?   Whether He smiled much, or at all?  Most depictions of Him over the centuries show a serious, often somber faced Jesus.  Surely the one who sacrificed Himself to save humanity had the most serious, even grim mission imaginable.  Yet John Eldridge devotes an entire chapter of his book,Beautiful Outlaw, to the playfulness of the Lord evidenced in the Gospels.
 
Picture Jesus telling Peter to go catch a fish to find a coin in its mouth to pay the dreaded tax collector.  Or imagine His disciples trying to picture a camel passing through the eye of a needle being easier than a rich young man going to heaven.  Do you think the crowd might have laughed when He told them to remove the plank from their own eye before telling their friends to move tiny specks from their eyes?
 
Eldridge portrays guileless Nathaniel’s first meeting with Jesus as humorous. Jesus says to Nathaniel He saw him while he was still sitting under a fig tree.  Very impressed, the easily impressed Nathaniel immediately declares Jesus is “the Son of God, the King of Israel!”  (John 1:43-50)  “Oh,” Jesus says to Nathaniel, “you’ll see greater things than this!”  Somebody listening to this exchange has to have suppressed a laugh, says Eldridge.
 
Or how about Jesus on the road to Emmaus, walking incognito with two men, hiding His identity while urging them to tell Him about what just happened in Jerusalem?  “Would it be safe to say He is cheerful” asks Eldridge, considering that Jesus had just defeated death and the devil.   After a meal with the two at the inn that evening, Jesus blesses the bread and their eyes were opened.  Suddenly He just disappears.  Eldridge concludes that Jesus was either just bizarre, or being playful.  What do you think?
 
The famous prodigy artist, Akiane Kramarik, painted the picture at the top of this page in  less than two days when she was age 8, after searching a long time to find someone with the right face to match the visage of Jesus she saw in a vision at age 4.  Her picture was later confirmed to be the same face Colton Burpo saw, also at age 4, whose story was captured in the book and film, Heaven Is for Real.  Is Jesus smiling in the picture?
 
There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Jesus laughed,” but we know that He empathized with us completely and felt all of our emotions. Laughter is part of life, and Jesus truly lived.
 
So what do you think?  Did Jesus ever smile?