A document from Lentulus, a supposed first century Roman official, purports to describe Jesus. In part it reads, “He rebukes with majesty, councils with mildness, His whole address whether in word or deed, being eloquent and grave. No man has seen him laugh.” There is one small problem with the letter: It’s a fraud. There was no Lentulus, and the Jesus of the Bible bears no resemblance to the forlorn image that this “Lentulus” presents.
Take the concept of rejoicing. Jesus’ parables depict it time and again. The woman who finds a lost coin calls a party and celebrates. The shepherd finds a lost sheep, and he calls together his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him. He spoke parables about wedding feasts, and once when he attended a real, live wedding feast he turned water into wine so that the party would continue. These parables and examples don’t come from the temperament of a man who walks around in perpetual gloom.
On the heels of the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin, Jesus illustrates a celebration through the parable of the Prodigal Son. After his repentance and return home, the father declared: “ ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:22-24 NIV)
Here we see Godly ways to celebrate. First, bring out your best clothes and adornments. Splurge for the occasion. Call together your friends, for good things should be shared with others. “Kill the fattened calf” and enjoy the good things in life. Verse 25 says there were music and dancing, and surely laughter. There is nothing unbiblical with celebrating the joys of life. Ecclesiastes says to “rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9) God even gave special days of rejoicing, where people were to celebrate in a manner similar to that found in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Of one such time of year we read: “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your Feast – you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the Feast to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” (Deut. 16:13-15 NIV)
Imagine seven days of celebration! For everybody! Our world could use a time like that.
Lenny Cacchio is a resident of Lees Summit. He blogs at http://morningcompanio nblogspot.com/.