Breakdancing Jesus

My husband and I have long discussed whether or not Jesus was a funny man. You know, not funny “ha ha” but other kinds of funny. Was he jovial, a jokster, a goof?

Did He like to play pranks on His disciples? Is that really what He was doing when He said John was His fave?

My husband imagines Jesus sitting around a fire late at night, shootin’ the breeze with His disciples. In Jonathan’s imagination, there had to have been some jokes cracked and some gas passed. I mean, there were dudes. Jesus had to laugh at farts and fart jokes because, well, almost all men do, right?

Just last night we were talking about this–Jesus being funny or not–and a few minutes later, I decided to hop over and visit Ragamuffin Soul for some reason. Lo and behold, I saw an image that some would call sacrilegious and others would call downright awesome. A picture like this only comes along once. I saw it and I smiled…

Now, I didn’t smile because I think it’s particularly fuuny. I smiled because I’m pretty sure God was directing me to that blog, in that moment, to see this picture.

I love what Carlos wrote about “Breakdancing Jesus” and while I don’t fully agree, it got me thinking. He said, “I’ve learned a few things about the personality of Jesus. He was a whimsical man with an amazing sense of humor. He wasn’t this boring, serious, drab man. No group of obnoxious and loud fisherman would have dropped their nets and followed that man. I think He laughs at playful teasing of Himself and dished it out as well.”

I wonder. Was Jesus light-hearted? Was He “whimsical,” as Carlos describes? How could He be? He knew, in some sense, what lay before Him. Scripture describes Jesus as “despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Another translation says He was “familiar with suffering.”

So, in other words, grief was His contant companion. He was a sorrowful man, feeling the weight of every persons sin, every persons pain, every persons rejection of Him.

Did He really have time for jokes?

…I imagine He had to. Jesus had to laugh about something. Anything.

His heart had to be distracted from the present pain and the pain to come. He was human after all and as cliche as it might be, nothing makes us humans feel better like a little laughter.

And what about this breakdancing Jesus? Do you think the Lord sees it and laughs? Does He care? Is it sacrilegious or despicable? I for one, don’t like pictures like this–or T-shirts, or bumper sticker, or keychains. I think they demean my God. I think making Jesus a punchline is never a good idea…but that doesn’t mean God can’t laugh at us all the same.

What do you think about this picture? Sacrilege or hilarious? Do you think Jesus was a funny guy or not? How do you imagine Him? Tell me! I’m dying to know!

lead image found here 

32 thoughts on “Breakdancing Jesus”

  1. I imaginged Jesus as a regular guy really, he was a man of all emotions. i picture him that if he were to be here today, i could spend the whole day with him, we talk about life, we just talk.

    I think the picture is just another interpretation on how Jesus was, dont really agree with it, but just another interpretation.

    But overall I think he was a man filled with different emotions, that laughed, got angry, was tempted, cried. In the end though he was different from all of us because he knew what he was placed on this earth for and followed it through. He knew what he had to do and through all of it he never gave hiself the glory, he always wanted his father to be praised. He was a cool guy, who had to wait of the world on his shoulders. That’s how he is to me. That’s what I love about him, because even though he had the wait of the world on his shoulders, he did not give up, he still loved, he kept his truth. He is the truth. So that’s it for me -Writerscomposition

    1. Jaque,

      You said: “He knew what he had to do and through all of it he never gave hiself the glory, he always wanted his father to be praised.” Amen and yes! Jesus was God in earthly form pointing to His Father in Heaven.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yeah, I wouldn’t have that picture on my wall either.
    But as for Jesus having a sense of humor, I’m all for that! I think being familiar with suffering actually makes the sense of humor part more likely, not less likely.

    Also, you could take a Jerry Seinfeld-ian approach to this. Didn’t he theorize that Superman would have to also have Super Humor? Jesus is way ahead of Superman.

    1. JT,
      Interesting point you make. Did the fact that Jesus knew suffering make Him actually better able to relate to–and seek out–humor? Something for me to chew on.

      Thanks for commenting and I look forward to seeing you around here in the future.

      1. I think my own suffering (what there has been of it…I’m not complaining) has affected my humor.
        It’s that or my humor has make me insufferable.
        One or the other.

  3. I love the picture. Maybe that’s not the best reaction but it was my first one. I agree that Jesus was a man of all emotions, acquainted with sorrow definitely. I think that suffering can deepen one’s capacity to experience and acknowledge all other emotions. For example, people refined by suffering in my opinion have more compassion, joy, wit, are less afraid of other’s judgments, and have more depth to their personality. I had a New Testament professor once describe Jesus as a “party animal” because he ate and drank with immoral people. I personally believe Jesus knew how to live in the moment and have fun.

    1. Ellen,
      Like JT, you make an interesting point about Jesus’s capacity to feel all other emotions. it has me thinking, that’s for sure.

      I love that you raised the point of Jesus eating with the immoral people of the time. This fact always reminds me that Jesus was not “religious,” at least not in the way the religious were at the time. He cared about people, first and foremost. I imagine some of those dinners were uproariously funny! Jesus either laughed or cracked a few jokes Himself.

  4. I think the book of John captures some humor in Jesus. I always picture Jesus with a slight smirk on his face when he gets into the “Whose your daddy” argument with the Pharisees.”

  5. I usually don’t get offended by much. And I really didn’t get “offended” by breakdancing Jesus. I just thought it was in poor taste – as you said – to make Jesus a punchline. If I were God, I’d be more offended by the sacrilege of making Him a political tool.

    1. Matt,

      I am offended, too, I reckon, at how the Democrats have bastardized Jesus for the sake of their agendas. It speaks volumes when any political party in our America could boo the Name of Jesus like they did, yet claim fellowship with Him through the rantings of a racist “pastor”, and believe that abortion-on-demand is actually a blessing and God’s will.

      The hypocrisy is deafening.

  6. I believe it was J I Packer who wrote that anytime any of us seek to paint, draw, or sculpt Jesus it is idolatry, since none of us can capture the Holiness of God in such fashion, and we will always get it wrong. For truly, once someone does make an image of some kind of Christ, people will blindly pray to it or venerate it. You know how we get.

    Having said that, I personally detest this picture. To me it looks as if Jesus is performing for some Catholic cardinals for their amusement. Yikes. He is Holy which means He is set apart. His is not an image or visage we should play with for the sake of a laugh, or for the sale of an amusing t-shirt. Never.

    I think I mentioned to Jonathan once that I could totally believe the disciples sitting about a campfire late at night, making small talk, and Jesus is laughing and interacting with His chosen as casually as you and I would do. One of my personal mental images (spiritual images?) of Jesus is when He embraced the children and told us not to prohibit them from coming to The Kingdom. I see Him holding a young child, perhaps 1 year old, lightly bouncing the child on His knee while the child smiles and giggles and plays with His fingers.

    So, yes, like many I do believe there was definitely a human side to Jesus that we just seem to acknowledge through The Spirit in unison, but cannot prove through artistic renditions.

  7. If I’d seen this image 10 years ago I would’ve been indignant, judgemental and decried it as sacrilegious.

    Now that I’m a little more grown up and adjusted to reality I think this would crack Jesus up. Is it reverent? No. But God/Jesus is the Creator of humor and has given us laughter as a gift.

    Jesus was a real guy and I think it would truly be a miracle if He could hang out with the disciples for 3 years w/out some kind of shenanigans going down. I’m thinking pranks, fart-jokes and wrestling matches were common occurance.

    I think you make a great point as well about Jesus being a “man of sorrow” and probably needing to laugh in order to cope w/ the tremendous weight on His shoulders. Part of the whole being man and God at the same time.

    1. I disagree. Jesus never “bent” with culture. He is Lord. He doesn’t bow down to humanity’s version of “religion” or humor. Did He laugh? I think he did. Would he laugh at this photo? We wouldn’t know, but I strongly think He would not. Can I see the message of serving, salvation and sacrifice (He came to serve) as comedy used with the words of the creator of the world? I think not. Let us remember that it is the very words of God that created the heavens and the earth, and all that exists. I never take God’s words lightly and to use them at this drawing with that image would make me think that God thinks there is humor in the sacrifice of His own son so that we can be saved… and apparently laugh with the very liberty he bought for us on that cross. If Jesus, with great difficulty bore the cup of His Father’s wrath in the culmination of “coming to serve” with sweat dripping from his bow as blood, how can I look at that and used those very words as humor? As much as I want to, I can’t. I’m sorry. This is just another example of American culture making light of things which are Holy.

  8. I personally see that image and I want to laugh, but there is something that doesn’t allow me to. Jesus didn’t come to make people laugh. He came to give His life up for us. That’s no laughing matter. Interestingly the gospels never mentions that Jesus laughed. Of course that doesn’t mean that he didn’t. If I may speak honestly, this is typical american humor. We like to laugh at someone else’s expense. If you have ever watched any stand-up comedy, laughs come as the comedian makes fun of people. I’m sure Jesus laughed during conversations with his disciples, but I can’t imagine him laughing at someone’s expense. Also, I can never imagine Muslims laughing at a break-dancing Mohammed. There is something about reverence that we surely lack in our culture.

    Jesus is not my homeboy, or my sidekick as some people refer to him. He’s my savior, my Lord, my King and if John fell as a dead man when He saw him in his glory, so will I when I do. He’s no less God because He came in human form.

    I finish off my comment with this question: When was the last time, you saw a church face down in the ground, overcome with awe at the presence of our King?

    Have we lost our sense of reverence and have we turned our God into a version of “The Family Guy”?

    P.S. this is coming from someone who lives on sense of humor. I love to laugh and I have done my share of breakdancing for kicks and laughs.

    1. Moe,


      It isn’t appropriate for American churches to worship on their faces. I mean, if they did they would miss their Worship Team Performance and their Rock Star Pastor’s Sermon. We can’t have that, now can we?

      Speaking openly, I think it would be something for His Holiness to cause people to piss in their pants in fear and reverence. It would change everything.

    2. If I were to bend Jesus to fit my own image, He would:

      cuss when angry, smoke cigarettes/cigars now and again, enjoy a pleasant alcoholic drink (whiskey sours or white wine), laugh at political liberalism, get really pissed when it comes to abortion-on-demand, shake His head in disbelief when people say He was a homosexual, find great pleasure in eating McDonald’s french fries with mayonnaise, detest mega-churches and American churchery for being false idols and modern-day marketplaces of vainglorious personalities, and etc, etc.

      I much prefer to regard Him as Holy, which is 180 degrees totally different than I am when left to my own devices. ;) If He was like me or you, we would all be screwed.

      1. I agee and well said, He isnt created in OUR image. We are then we perverted that image in the fall, the above is just another example of such pervertion. Loweing the Holy God of Israel to what we think ..God forgive us and the tattoed ‘pastor’ that posted it

  9. The problem that I have with this picture is what he is wearing, or not wearing, for that matter. Jesus is holy and pure, and I believe that when he dances, he wears a bit more than that. I believe he is modest, and for that reason I find this picture dishonoring.

  10. My all-time favorite book series is “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” by Stephen R. Donaldson. They’re fantasy (b/c I’m a dork), and they’re all about how we respond to despair.

    Despair is, IMO, a natural response to a real understanding of the Fallenness of creation. That’s what we see in many of the Existentialist and Post-Modern philosophers: When you get right up in the face of the evil of humanity, all that is left is despair.

    Unless there’s hope. And that’s the point these books make… that Hope is always bigger than Despair. That no matter how bad things get, the sun comes up tomorrow. God is taking us somewhere.

    One of my favorite characters in the books laughs all the time. And it’s not because he’s ignoring the suffering of the world. Rather, it’s because he realizes that the only truly good response to despair, to evil, is to laugh. Because laughter isn’t a denial of suffering. It’s an affirmation that Life wins.

    All of that is a very circituitous way to say I agree with you. I think Jesus laughed all the time. Not despite what lay ahead of him or what he saw in the hearts of people around him. But BECAUSE of it. He knew Life wins, that Resurrection Sunday follows Good Friday.

    (And as for the picture, it probably depends on the context right? I can imagine a person raised in a strict, hyperreligious Catholic environment finding this picture EITHER liberating or offensive.)

  11. I agree that it is wrong to use Jesus to try sell our own punclines. But I have to say, this is pretty creative because the punchline in the end is Biblical truth. “The son of man has not come to be served, but to serve!” For any dancer, or anybody who has any remote inkling of the Urban dancing phrase “you got served”, this picture makes a pretty bold claim. It claims that Jesus always wins the battle against his opposition through servant, sacrificial leadership. You don’t win rap or dance battles that way.

    But I also affirm the cautions of wisdom evident in people’s comments. There is danger in trying to make Christ into our own image. Also, we give bad witness when Jesus is always depicted as a white male an not a middle eastern male.

  12. Before I read the other comments, I decided to add my opinion. The God that created us gave us the ability to laugh, experience joy, and enjoy the bountiful life. Jesus was human and God, so he had the best of both parts which, I believe, included the ability to tell a funny story and laugh at the antics of adults and children. The Jewish people can tear up the floor when they get happy and when they worship. Jesus grew up in an environment of regular people just like us and he was a regular fellow with “exceptional talents”.

    Children loved him and flocked to him.
    Women trusted him and ministered to him.
    Men were comfortable in his presence and drawn to his leadership.

    Rarely do you see these happen to a sour puss, or a dogged out grumpy frump.

    He would pull stunts on the very people trying to kill him, like the time:
    he disappeared inside a crowd or when
    he came to them walking on the water and invited the crew to join him, or
    let the storm rage and then quieted it with his word, and the
    water to wine episode and so forth.

    I saw some drawings of Jesus about 3 decades ago and I thought, “That is how he looked”. He was strong, viral, laughing and looked as normal as a Godly man would. I tend to think if they had break dancing in his time and he came upon a group of teenagers showing their stuff, he would take the opportunity and dance with them, then tell them of his coming kingdom.

  13. I thinkbecause is fundamentally both more completely divine, and entirely human, than we can fathom. Divine, because He’s God; human, because He’s everything we’re supposed to be. Remember, He was executed for being too radical.

    I would venture to guess that the real Jesus isn’t nearly as religious as anybody us. Whenever He was stern, gracious, kind, shrew–it was always about reaching the heart of whoever He was addressing.

    My personal opinion is this: If this is the same Jesus Who pulled the stunt with the fishing nets (both at the beginning of His ministry, and after His resurrection): “Throw it on the other side.” The same Jesus Who, after the Emmaus walk, shows up and basically says “Hi! Got some fish?”

    If it’s this Jesus we’re talking about, then I’m guessing He thinks the picture is hilarious. I mean who invented break dancing? Wouldn’t He be the best ever?

    John Eldredge’s book, Beautiful Outlaw, is really helping me see Our Lord as a deity with–gasp!–a personality.

  14. Back from dinner and just finished all the comments. I imagine if we were sitting in the same room, with Jesus, having some wine and bread, discussing the days events, we sound like the people in scripture. His disciples often bickered among themselves about his activities and were often confused, amazed and disagreed with each other and Jesus.

    I think of Jesus as my friend, God and Lord and hope he feels the same about me. Jesus told us to love one another, our neighbors and ourselves and to prove our love of him by obeying his commandments. He called Abraham his friend and spoke to Moses as a friend. I understand the word HomeBoy is used to define a close personal and trusted person.

    BTW, I just learned about Breakdancing about a year ago. Why would it be more or less irreverent for Jesus or any Christian to breakdance than to say, waltz, or slow dance or …? Just curious. I am hoping Jesus would be chuckling about our thoughts as we sit with him at the dinner table.

  15. Jesus Wept…If I was God and I was on earth and saw all my children suffering and headed to hell I propbably wouldnt be ‘goofing around’ Perhaps that is why no Gospil says he was laughing. Rather he wept, got angry got sad, got frustrated.

    He is God..not just a man, but God that became man. Try and see him as a buit more mature than us. Because He is. Dignified, Divine, Fearless, Gentle, Compassionate. That type of man all men want to be. Not a fool , rather a man’s man. Those kind of men are never big jokers. Thye are serious but dependable. Yes they can smile and see humour but their purpose is far more important. Imagine what God would be like if such men exist like that and we respect them? How much more God?

  16. I don’t understand this conversation – really at all. I do not understand the idea there is something inappropriate about showing or depicting Jesus doing human things? Humans dance, and to suggest that depicting Jesus dancing (and the play on the word “serve” is no different) is to suggest that WE ought not dance. Would you all be offended by a picture showing Jesus making a chair or a table (he was a carpenter – right?), or painting a picture, or farming, or anything else? How can we depict Him then? I thought we were supposed to follow Him? and I thought the point of Him being made a man was so that he would………….be a man! My son is a hip hop dancer and I can’t wait to show this image to him. What’s the message if this picture is not OK?

  17. I like discussions like this because it opens up something we all want to know: The nature of Jesus, and that’s what we all should want to know! If there’s one thing I believe is that Jesus being both God and man, and also being perfect, He had a sense of humor and a great one at that. I wouldn’t presume to know whether or not He would take offense with it or if He would laugh, there’s only one thing I have to keep in mind: He’s still Jesus and still my Lord.

  18. HILARIOUS! A friend sent this pic to me about a year ago, and the only thing that was offensive was me laughing out loud in the middle of a hospital cafeteria…uncontrollably. I’m a dancer so the term “served” means a little something different to me. I’ve been searching for this image on a T-shirt for months, as I would not only wear it but carry tissue in my pocket to wipe my own tears of laughter away throughout the day.

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