There is another pair of verses in the New Testament in which Jesus, Himself, speaks about laughter. He validates the teaching of Solomon regarding the extremes of life; a time to weep and a time to laugh. There is a time for every 17 time to laughpurpose under heaven. They will come to us all. But Jesus speaks to us about a future event when God’s kingdom will come on earth. We all walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We all suffer, we all lose loved ones. As the King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus makes us a promise. In Luke 6:21 He says, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:25 reverses the promise. It says, “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”

The woe pronounced upon those who laugh is not directed at having a sense of humor or an innocent kind of laugh. As Darrell Bock says, “…γελάω is often tied to laughter that is boastful, self-satisfied, condescending, or rejoicing in the harm that others experience. For example, Lam. 1:7 uses the term of how the enemies laughed or gloated at Jerusalem’s destruction. Thus, the picture is of a person of worldly ease who is indifferent because of self-satisfaction.” That kind of laughter will be turned into mourning. The prosperous, powerful and popular often look at the poor, weak, and the simple with derision. But in the Kingdom of God real joy and real laughter belong only to the poor, the weak and the simple of this life that understand their state and turn to God for salvation.

Laughter is part of God’s plan for us in the mystery form of God’s kingdom, the Church, and ultimately in the realized form of God’s kingdom in the eternal future. I like the way Martin Luther translated 2 Corinthians 4:17; “…After brief weeping comes eternal laughter; after a small sorrow comes eternal joy.” When Jesus taught in the synagogue at Nazareth He read from Isaiah 61:1-4, and then said that this passage is being fulfilled as they watch His ministry of healing, setting prisoners free and preaching good news to the poor. Another thing He does in this passage is give us “the oil of gladness instead mourning.” We still view the mark of faith to be a serious and sober expression. But as Oswald Sanders said, “Should we not see that lines of laughter about the eyes are just as much marks of faith as are the lines of care and seriousness? Is laughter pagan? We have already allowed too much that is good to be lost to the church and cast many pearls before swine. A church is in a bad way when it banishes laughter from the sanctuary and leaves it to the cabaret, the nightclub, and the toastmasters.” Absolutely! Abraham Lincoln said, “If I did not laugh, I would die.”