I was asked this question recently. Many of us are familiar with the picture of the laughing Jesus. But did He laugh? What was He like?
I have heard many cite the passage from Isaiah where it says, "He was... a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," (Is. 53:3). Yet, I don't believe this is intended to reflect on His overall demeanor, but rather specifically His identification with us all in His passion.
The Scriptures tell us that the common people heard Jesus gladly. Children enjoyed being around Him. He was accused (falsely) of being a glutton and a drunkard. That's not usually how one would characterize an austere man. If sinners were so comfortable around Jesus and wanted to hear Him, it is doubtful that He was routinely dour.
A passage from Sirach (a book that would have been included in the Bible of Jesus' day) sheds some light on this for me: "Do not give yourself over to sorrow, and do not afflict yourself deliberately. Gladness of heart is the life of man, and the rejoicing of a man is length of days. Delight your soul and comfort your heart, and remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many, and there is no profit in it," (Sir. 30:21-23). These are good words to live by. Surely Jesus knew of them and did indeed live by them.
This paints a picture for me of Jesus primarily being a Man who we might call "good-natured", or cheerful. He must have been amiable and winsome. These qualities would have drawn people to Him. Then they would be ready to hear His teachings and believe.
We do know that not all believed, and not all loved Him. Yet, He must have been loved by many. This same spirit must have been characteristic of His early followers for we find that they are described this way: "They partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people," (Acts 2:46,47). The result? "The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved," (v. 47).
There are times to be stern and even to be sad. But in the main, the Lord calls us to a cheerful and carefree life. Our joy and gladness are to be contagious and winsome, just as it was for our Lord. The result will be what it always has been- people can't resist it. This alone will not result in a dramatic revival, but it will help.
"In Your presence there is fulness of joy, in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore,"