16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to put Jesus to the test. They asked him to show them a miraculous sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “In the evening you look at the sky. You say, ‘It will be good weather. The sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning you say, ‘Today it will be stormy. The sky is red and cloudy.’ You know the meaning of what you see in the sky. But you can’t understand the signs of what is happening right now. 4 An evil and unfaithful people look for a miraculous sign. But none will be given to them except the sign of Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.
I understand that it has been a contentious issue across history, and in some cultures, it remains quite a taboo topic: Does God have a sense of humour? I believe that our ability to laugh and see the funny side of things and our ability to be clever with language in a way that is amusing is part of the image of God that we all bear – I believe that the enemy has no sense of humour at all.
In this passage of scripture, Jesus is using at least 2 types of humour. One is a simple play on the word “sign” and the second type is one that God specialises in – to give a cryptic prophetic clue to something, and then later reveal the truth that nobody would have guessed.
Jesus was certainly a loving man and cared for people and healed people and was very giving of his time. His sacrificial death on the cross was undoubtedly the most loving thing ever done in history. His ability though to poke fun at the Pharisees could be seen as being a bit cruel and nasty though (does it serve them right for picking a fight with the Son of God?).
I believe though that humour is a tool that God uses to soften our hearts, particularly when we need to break though on a particularly tough issue!
God, help us to laugh! Amen.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware