Laughing All the Way to the West Bank

The medicinal benefits of laughing are well documented:

  • A good, strong laugh provides a heart rate increase equal to 15 minutes of biking
  • Laughter decreases stress and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving resistance to disease
  • Laughing helps to deepen breathing, improving respiration
  • A hearty laugh relieves tension, reduces stress and can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes

It leaves one to wonder why, if there are so many advantages to laughing, is there so little levity in the Scriptures? Any physical benefits of laughing were designed and hardwired into us by the Creator himself, so would it be so difficult for him to tell a casual joke? To use the periodic pun? To exchange the occasional bon mot?

An article in Bible Study Magazine suggests that perhaps He did. Samuel Lamerson, Dean of
Faculty and Associate Professor of New Testament at Knox Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, proposes that perhaps the disconnect between us and the funnier comments and stories Jesus told is cultural—maybe we just don’t understand what they would have found funny in Palestine 2,000 years ago. He also suggests that perhaps we just don’t like the idea of a jovial Jesus and prefer to picture our Savior as a “man of many sorrows, acquainted with grief.” Lamerson walks us through some examples of stories Jesus told which his listeners would have found humor in, showing that Jesus may have been a little more wry than we would typically admit.

Bible Study Magazine provides many previews of these kinds of amazing articles, as well as interactive tools to accompany many of the articles in print. But subscribing today is the only way to ensure you don’t miss a single issue.

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