Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Did Jesus have a bipolar disorder?

Luke 10: 17-24
Okay, okay... I realize for some those will be fighting words. Burn-me-at-the-stake words in a past life, but then the term bipolar hadn't been coined when women who ask spiritual questions were being burned. I would have been toasted for some other reason, equally valid (or ridiculous) depending upon your point of view.

Today's Gospel got me to thinking along those lines, so if you're not offended yet, bear with me. The seventy (two) have just returned triumphant. They have successfully ousted demons and cured illnesses in the name of Jesus and are flying high. Jesus, himself, is unusually exuberant. "I watched Satan fall like a lightning bolt." and he goes on to say some very uncharacteristic things about himself: "I have given you authority to tread on scorpions and snakes and over all the power of the enemy and nothing will hurt you... All things have been handed over to me by my Father and... the only ones who know the Father besides me, are the ones I choose." (my paraphrase) Pretty darn sure of himself at this point. And sure enough to tell his disciples they can't be hurt. Uh oh.

Jesus has not yet begun to talk in terms of the suffering Messiah. That comes later. (Later... when he spirals down?) But if Scripture doesn't lie, and I never said it did, then there's a huge shift about to happen in this same man who in this passage is boisterously confident in a way I've only witnessed as a manic state, either from cocaine or illness. (And I know of no reference to Jesus and coke in the Bible.) It was just a thought.


kpjara said...

You are hilarious!

Good points too.

Kate said...

Good musings! I can see how it would be possible to attribute some mental illness or other to a lot of characters in the Bible. As I was reading, though, I began to wonder how much of the disordered appearance in this passage could be attributed to the way Scripture is formed. After all, who knows if the events we have in the text of Scripture even occurred in the order given?

Thanks for being willing to share your "heritical" ponderings!

Anonymous said...

Just when you thought this blog couldn't get any more imbecilic....

RevSue said...

"Imbecilic?" Hmmm.

Speaking personally, I prefer civil discourse on the Internet.

Anonymous, if you disagree with the blog, why not let us know what YOU think, rather than hurling insults?

I do agree with Kate that any apparent blow-hot-and-cold character of Jesus probably has more to do with Luke's editing ("redaction," as they say in the world of biblical criticism)than with the personality of Jesus himself.

Anonymous said...

It's entirely possible, but in the end we'll just be theorising.

Throughout history, different cultures have worshipped those who have suffered hallucinations, or heard voices. The Spanish, in recognition of this blurred line, called them "locos santos", or Holy Madmen. St John of God is one that comes to mind.

I was visiting a friend in a psychiatric unit many years ago. We were told to not open certain doors, as there were 3 men who were separated to "cool down". My friend then explained that they all had religious delusions, and thought they were the Messiah. One was Jewish, another was Catholic and another Muslim. Sounds like a joke. But it was true.

I left thinking "what if they really are messiahs..."

Jerusalem Syndrome is another interesting one.