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Was Jesus Crazy?

• Dan Kent

Based on the claims that Jesus made about himself, we have three options: to say he was a liar, a lunatic or that he is lord. This sermon addresses the question of whether or not Jesus was of a sound mind, and then claims that the only sane human to have ever lived was Jesus, and what the implications of that are.

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C.S. Lewis described our understanding of Jesus as a trilemma, three options that lie before us regarding Jesus’ identity. Either he is a liar, a lunatic or lord. Much has been addressed about why he is not a liar and why we should say that he is lord, but very little has been said about whether or not Jesus was in his right mind. In this sermon, Dan seeks to address this.

The word “crazy” presents us with some challenges. Many people struggle with mental illness and the word crazy is often used to belittle and deride those who struggle with issues that are beyond their control. They are bullied with this word and cast aside in our society. Mental illness is not “crazy.” The real crazy is doing what we could have done otherwise because we have the ability to choose to do so. With this in mind, this talk is meant to help us understand if Jesus was operating with a sound mind by looking at three disorders that have symptoms that could align with some of the actions of Jesus.

Dan walks us through an understanding of three disorders: schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and sociopathic personality disorder. He explains how he has seen them manifest in his world with mental health patients and how some of the actions of Jesus could be viewed as aligning with these disorders. But then Dan shows us how other actions of Jesus debunk each of these possibilities. By walking us through these, Dan demonstrates how it is not possible to logically choose the option of Jesus as a lunatic.

Dan then introduces that Jesus was actually the only sane human being to have ever lived, that he actually lived in an authentic and consistent way that aligns with a truthful way that the world works. Jesus lived in a way that was the total antithesis of anything that might be diagnosed as a mental illness. In fact, the real crazy does not have anything to do with a mental disorder; the real crazy is exhibited in the common way of life that almost everyone in the world lives. The real crazy is to live in a self-destructive way when we could have chosen to live otherwise. This is true foolishness. We are caught in a perpetual cycle of doing the same things, expecting different results.

We see this on a daily basis in things like violence, sexuality and the use of money. We think that retributive violence, for instance, will make the world better, but the only thing that occurs is the continuation of more violence. It’s a never-ending story that results in more and more destruction. But it’s a mindset that controls our actions—a crazy one. The same is true for the relentless pursuit of pleasure and greed. This mindset appears to be the only option we have, but in fact it is not.

We needed something from outside of our insanity to stop the perpetual cycle that traps us. This something is Jesus, the great shepherd who comes to the sheep who are harassed and helpless without anyone to provide care. He is the great light that has dawned, shining forth to reveal and unveil truth where the untruth keeps us in the life of crazy. Jesus comes to save us from the insanity, to rescue us so that we can live in a sane way. This is what discipleship is all about, and we experience it as we orient ourselves to the true sanity of Jesus and choose to live in a way that counters the crazy of our culture.

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Topics: Defense of Christian Faith, Discipleship, Non-Violence

Sermon Series: Unraveling Truth

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3 thoughts on “Was Jesus Crazy?

  1. Jerry says:

    Dan, thank you for that excellent message.

    You ended your three-level disorder evaluation of Jesus was the statement that Jesus was the only sane person that ever lived and added as Greg said last week God is not the one who needs therapy we do.

    A few messages back you used the word characterological.

    I made a couple of comments on the Sermon on the Great Fall of Christendom.

    In summary:

    Temple model: When you sin you break God’s law. Greg connected that to the penial substitution mentality.

    Jesus model: When you sin you break yourselves and others which breaks God’s heart.

    I ended with the following:

    Consider the original SIN was the FEAR God was trying to pull something over them and in so DOUBTED His CHARACTER and decided to become like Him managing good and evil by JUDGING it themselves, definitely above their pay grade, resulting in WORRY and more FEAR. All SIN!

    The bottom line is the only way to SIN NOT is to trust God’s CHARACTER, NOT our IN Adam, staying on the narrow path, fruit of the Spirit, of wisdom.

    The point being they considered God has characterological problems and the solution is to jump in to solve them.

    I’ve been reading John Comer’s book “Live No Lies” How to Recognize and Resist Three Enemies that Sabotage Your Peace

    Deceptive ideas…. That play to disordered desires…. That are normalized in a sinful society. — [the Devil]…[the Flesh]…[the World]

    This caught my attention.

    Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, defined sin as “the unwillingness to trust what God wants for me is only my deepest happiness.” The devil’s primary target is our trust in God. He has us if He can get us to DOUBT God and instead trust in our own inner intuition as an accurate compass to the good life. Sin sabotages our capacity for happiness by appealing to our God-given desire for happiness via deceptive ideas.

    Again the Genesis Three lie:
    1. Seizes autonomy from God.
    2. Redefines good and evil based on a voice in our heads and the inclination of our hearts rather than trust in the loving word of God.

    Dan as you said that’s insanity.

    Sin, anything that harms you or others whether it shows up on a list in the Bible or not, comes with a pre-packaged consequence starting as magical [wow the best] becoming medicinal [I need it], and ending in miserable [how do I get out of it].

    Comer’s thought: Sin is expensive! Who is paying for yours?

    1. Jerry says:

      From the summary:

      Mental illness is not “crazy.” ….The real crazy is to live in a self-destructive way when we could have chosen to live otherwise …. Jesus comes to save us from insanity, to rescue us so that we can live in a sane way. This is what discipleship is all about.

      A few more thoughts from Comer’s book “Live No Lies”.

      In the absence of a mental illness – knowing is half the battle – and to then NOT make the right choice is just crazy.

      Half the battle is a recent Western idea that comes out of a Cartesian worldview that sees humans as rational “brains on legs” rather than the ancient, more holistic view of humans as desire-based creatures.

      This new idea allows us to justify emotional and desire-based decisions under the guise of rationality and it doesn’t require that much from us. Listen to a podcast, take an e-course, or read a book and you’re halfway there. Consider knowing something is neither the same as doing something nor the same as wanting to do something and therefore more like 10 percent of the battle.

      For ideas, good or bad, to reshape our lives, they have to get into our hearts – the deep centers of our beings that integrate our thoughts, emotions, and desires – and from there into our bodies, our muscle memory; in Christian language into our souls.

      A spiritual formation, every minute every day, intentional or unintentional, conscious or subconscious, deliberate or haphazard in an ongoing process, one way or another, – either a discipline [embodied practice] in a physical world whereby we present ourselves to the immaterial reality of the Spirit/presence and Word/truth of Jesus becoming transformed into a person more like Jesus living in line with all that is good, beautiful and true – or in contrast, by isolation and lies, being deformed into the image of the devil and enslaved in a vicious cycle of disorder and death.

      We are creatures of subconscious habit [95%] with some degree of consciousness some of the time [5%]. In that 5% of the time, we write [store/modify/remove] habitual procedures, in our souls, that subconsciously run the other 95% of our lives.

      Our best chance of not writing malware procedures is to stay in the Spirit’s presence and the Word truth of Jesus found by walking on the narrow path of wisdom in the fruit of the Spirit with spiritual disciplines of silence, solitude, prayer, fasting, and Scripture.

      I’m still in the first part of the book [the devil]. I highly recommend this book.

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks for the thoughts, Jerry. Looks like an interesting book. Added it to my queue.

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