In the Beatitudes – Matthew 5: 3-12, Jesus talked about how it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of needle then get into heaven, and that you should take the plank out of your eye before you criticize and judge your neighbor for his mistakes, issues, and sins. I think He said this “kiddingly” not judgmentally as so many times I have heard preached. I think Jesus knew that some things sink into our thick heads better when we make a joke about them. Several year’s ago, my daughter Kelsey and I worked on the Visual Bible’s film of The Gospel of Matthew starring Bruce Marchiano as Jesus. The film was scripted so that all dialogue spoken on camera by the actors in the film would be quoted scripture verse from the Gospel of Matthew. It was acted and narrated by the award-winning actor, Richard Kiley, who played the role of Matthew. (I was honored a few years later to work again with him in Israel on another project for our company Cooke Pictures). I got to know Bruce on the film set and the joy of Jesus was evident in his life. His depiction of Jesus is one of my favorite portrayals I have ever seen. People called him the “laughing Jesus” when the film was released because Bruce brought the joy and laughter of Jesus’s personality to the screen that most people miss when reading the Bible. They instead focus on Jesus being “a man of sorrows” when He was a man of great joy, charisma, and as Bruce portrayed… belly laughter.

Jesus says it best in John 15:11, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”