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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Accusations Against Jesus Answered

Don Stewart :: Is It Possible That Jesus Was Insane?

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Is It Possible That Jesus Was Insane?

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 20

It is clear that Jesus Christ made some astounding claims about Himself. It is also clear that the evidence leads us to believe that He believed His claims were true. There are some who contend that Jesus made the claims and believed them to be true because He was mentally unbalanced. While it is theoretically possible that Jesus was deluded, the facts say otherwise.

The Accusation Is Not True

We respond to the accusation, that Jesus Christ was somehow mentally imbalanced, in the following ways.

1. Jesus Did Not Act Insane

From someone deluded or insane, we would expect them to act consistent with insanity. That is, someone insane would do and say insane things. However, when we look at the life and teachings of Jesus we see anything but insanity.

After Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount the crowd was awed by His teachings. We have the following comment in Matthew:

When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. (Matthew 7:28, 29 CEV)

The words of Jesus Christ rang clear and true. No one had ever spoken with such authority. No one!

2. He Was Always in Control

Moreover, Jesus handled Himself as One who was always in control. When He was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane by one of His own disciples, He demonstrated self-control and mastery over the situation.

He said the following to those at the scene:

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. (Matthew 26:53-56 NIV)

Jesus Christ was always in charge. This includes the timing of His own arrest.

3. His Teachings Were Not That of a Lunatic

As we search the Scriptures, we find there is nothing in the character of Jesus Christ to cause us to believe Him to be insane. On the contrary, the depth of His teaching and His masterful character testify that He was indeed the Son of God.

On one occasion, the Pharisees sent some of their men to apprehend Jesus. They came back without Him. They gave the following testimony to those who had sent them:

Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” (John 7:45, 46 NRSV)

Jesus spoke like no one else ever has. Obviously his words were not the words of an insane person.

4. Jesus Understood His Identity and Mission

Jesus was always aware of His Person and mission. He told the religious rulers that He was from heaven while they were from the earth. John records the following:

Jesus said to them, “You’re from below. I’m from above. You’re from this world. I’m not from this world.” (John 8:23 God’s Word)

Jesus knew where He came from, who He was, and exactly what He was doing upon the earth.

Consequently, we find no hint whatsoever, in the behavior and teaching of Jesus, that suggests that He was deluded. This explanation of Jesus’ claims does not make any sense.

Summary – Question 20
Is It Possible That Jesus Was Insane?

There is the accusation that Jesus Christ truly believed Himself to be the Son of God, but His claims were not true. In other words, He was actually mentally deranged. This would explain why He consistently made the astounding claims we find recorded in the New Testament.

However, there is no evidence whatsoever that Jesus Christ was mentally unbalanced. A number of points need to be made. As we examine the New Testament, we discover that Jesus certainly did not act like someone who was insane. Indeed, when we consider His actions during His public ministry we find that there is nothing that indicated any type of insanity.

Indeed, Jesus was a Person who was in control of every situation. This includes the occasion of His own betrayal and arrest where He was the One giving orders. Jesus never let others control Him. Never!

Furthermore, the teachings of Jesus were not that of a lunatic. Far from it. Even those who do not believe in Him acknowledge that Jesus was a great teacher. A great teacher is not someone who is insane.

Finally, Jesus was always aware of his Person and mission. Indeed, He knew who He was and why He was on the earth. Consequently there is no evidence anywhere that Jesus suffered from some type of delusion concerning His character. For those who wish to reject Jesus’ claim of being God the Son, the Savior of the world, a better answer needs to be found.

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