THE GOOD SHEPHERD IS NOT MAD,
NOT CRAZY, NOT DEVILISH
AS SOME CLAIM
19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?
21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
This division shows that some people think one way about Jesus, some choose another. There were at two other times that the ‘division’ was very noticeable.
The first division concerned His words, and some thought Jesus to be a Prophet, others saw Him as the Messiah, and a third group thought Him to be nothing good at all, for He came out of Galilee. Three groups, at least, on how they viewed the Lord.
John 7:40-44 (KJV)
40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
Some wanted to stone Him, the division had ones ready to heed His words, others ready to make Him the Messiah, and a third group wanting to kill Him. We find today that people are divided over what they think of Christians. Some want to kill us, some are trying to kill Christians in our world today. Some think we are okay, and some of what we say is acceptable, as long as we do not go too far and try to convert them. Others see in Christians, the right way to God, and their choice then is do they want to give up their other gods for the way of Christ, which would make them also be in a group that some hate and despise.
Another time there was a division, when Jesus healed the blind man in the Temple. The obvious miracle was sought to be covered up by the Pharisees, and their verbal, intimidating attack on the man and his family brought a division.
John 9:15-16 (KJV)
15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
Some saw the Good Shepherd as more than a man, others said that Jesus could not even be from God. This is a sharp division. We can wonder now how they could not have seen in the nature of the Good Shepherd, and in the works that He did, that this Person had to be of God, actually be One of the Trinity. How could they miss that fact? Yet, they did.
This brings us to this third division over Jesus. Jesus decides here to confront the divisions over Him, and identifies Himself first as the Good Shepherd, Who loves and cares for the flock. The ‘sayings’ of Jesus like that made some again divide over Who this Person is.
Could this Person have a ‘devil’, they asked. The gall it takes to see this meek, gentle, Good Shepherd Person and say that is ‘devilish’. Their hearts had to be hardened in sin to be that blind.
The next group suggested that Jesus was ‘mad’. That is a common charge against those who serve the Lord. Others were called ‘mad’ and ‘crazy’:
Acts 12:13-16 (KJV)
13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
Rhoda was considered mad for claiming an answer to their prayers. She saw Peter at the door, and they were praying for Peter to be released. Yet, their faith was so low, they could not believe the answer was given. Even today, claim a miracle, and people will search for a way to make it a normal thing. Claim that God has answered prayer, and many will think you ‘mad’.
Acts 26:24-25 (KJV)
24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
Festus considered Paul mad, for Paul’s words were learned, and truthful, sober (serious), and Festus had never heard such kind of talk before. His inner circle was void of spiritual talk, void of matters that pertain to eternity. Many live in the cartoon world of make believe. Some live in a world of sports, parties, and jokes. Speak seriously, about eternity and God, and they will still call you ‘crazy’.
why hear ye Him? ... Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is ‘yes’. Jesus does not go into it here, but we know from Scripture that some evil spirits do have power to do signs and wonders, but with the intent to deceive.
The evil spirits that inhabit the false prophet, and the antichrist, will have power to do miracles, signs, and wonders.
Matthew 24:24 (KJV)
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Satan is behind the empowering of the evil spirits, and they are signs and wonders, but ‘lying’ wonders to deceive, not to build faith in God.
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (KJV)
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
WHO IS INSANE?
JESUS OR MANKIND?
What we call ‘SANE’ does not seem so ‘SANE’ to the world any longer. What they call ‘SANE’, the Lord, our Good Shepherd, calls ‘INSANE’. The world wants to identify as right thinking, the ‘popular sense’, the ‘politically correct’, and the ‘peer acceptable’.
Society has tried to ‘brainwash’ us, and if we do not comply with what they call sanity and reason, there is punishment. If we do not accept their principles, their morality, their philosophy, in this 21st century, we are diagnoses as not having good sense.
The insanity of mankind is taught often using the ‘generalization truth’, where short trite sentences that do not often apply to many situations are made to be ‘sanity’ for all things. Then they use the ‘cliche truth’ where culturally ordained trite statements are made to be the true, the sane rules to live by. These manipulative and controlling definitions of sanity claim to be common sense. These are absorbed by force or threat, and obeyed and believed reluctantly by many. .
Yet, there is another definition of sanity, that is found in God’s Word. It is God-given, learned by experience, proven by practice, and trusted by those who love and believe what the Good Shepherd has spoken.
His word is sound, prudent perception of the true situation. It is based on His knowledge and experience. It is practical judgment that helps us live in a Godly way. When we make the words of the Good Shepherd, Who others thought to be ‘mad’, or ‘devilish’, to be our foundational beliefs, our trusted rules of living, and our guide to our sensitive conscience, we are then truly SANE.
THE WORLD’S INSANITY
Ephesians 4:17-19 (MOFF)
17 Now in the Lord I insist and protest that you must give up living like pagans; for their purposes are futile,
18 their intelligence is darkened, they are estranged from the life of God by the ignorance which their dullness of heart has produced in them
19 men who have recklessly abandoned themselves to sensuality, with a lust for the business of impurity in every shape and form.
The ‘pagan’ influence in that time was very great, and in our time, it is still greater. It is taught in public schools, reinforced and made mandatory for graduation from many colleges, and media preaches it on many programs. The pagan idea of sanity has often become instilled in many now Christian, a flooding of the minds by ideas that are depraved and evil.
Note it identifies this false ‘sanity’ to be due to their ‘purposes’ being futile, their intelligence darkened, their estrangement from God, their dull heart (mind), their reckless abandon to sensuaity, and their lust for impurity. Those things allow the mind to become ‘insane’ when compared to the sanity of the Good Shepherd.
There are many in our age who have the same problem. Society proclaiming that kind of perverted thinking, that kind of impure scholar as their teacher, and it has allowed even some Christians to think in a warped way.
Today’s insane society of perverseness and evil is often based on story lines from the cinemas that proclaim that homosexuality is moral, that abortion is wise, that perverseness and iniquity are normal. God’s definition of sanity was thrown out the window with the insertion of those items into the mind.
The students in school are encouraged to try homosexuality. Elementary students are shown methods of birth control without moral encouragement to avoid premarital sex. The hours ones spends in front of television programs is far greater than the time spent in Bible study and in Christian influence. What is the result? Their ‘intelligence is darkened’, they are ‘estranged from the life of God’ and they are ‘ignorant’ due to the ‘dullness of heart’ that the devil’s crowd has produced in them. They have lost the sanity that the world calls now to be ‘insane’.
The vain, worthless ‘nonsense’ that the devil has gotten to be evaluated as ‘sanity’ is evident. The thoughts and concerns of people today is too much on things not Godly. Some worry over the stock market, they fret their sports team record, they are concerned the lawn service may miss getting the June bugs. The souls of their loved ones may hang in precarious jeopardy, the church may be not seeing any move of the Holy Spirit, the political decisions are based on economics and not on morals and ethics. Many minds are filled with pornography. Many mouths are condoning abortion and perversions. The truths and principles of the Word of God are mocked, called out-dated, or ignored. This ‘vanity of their mind’ has brought about insanity, mental madness.
Turn on Christian television and watch, listen. How long before the ‘on’ was pushed, and some ‘blind’ doctrine is preached? It does not take long on many of those stations, on many of those programs. The greed and false words and dreams, that is proclaimed in the name of the Lord, but errant from the truth of the Word is easy to find. They proclaim personal visions from God that disagree with the Word of God, and are therefore evil. Yet, the crowds cheer, hoping the message of prosperity is for them, they give their offerings, and go home still blind to common sense.
Those who reject Jesus, open their minds to the darkness of thinking of the devil. They hear his lies as truth, they deny the ‘Truth’ of Jesus, and blindness sets into their thinking. They are deaf to Jesus’ voice, but well able to hear the devils’ lies.
The devil was insane when he thought he could be ‘like God’. He thought he had power like unto God. He thought he could stop Jesus from coming, and thought he could have Herod kill the newborn Jesus. He thought he could tempt Jesus to sin. He thought he could crucify Jesus and end the threat. He thought Jesus would stay dead, stay defeated. He was and is ‘insane’ for his thoughts are errant to the max.
This insane devil is spreading his nonsense thinking to many today. People listen to his lies, and believe they can be ‘good enough’ to deserve heaven. People listen to the devil and think they can ‘buy’ blessings with their offering, and don’t realize Jesus is not a merchant, but a Savior. People listen to the devil and think they can change the names of sins, and thereby not be guilty of wrong. Adultery becomes affairs, lies are political promises, hatred is class warfare, perversion is an ‘alternate life style, etc etc. are the nonsense people believe, having listened to the devil instead of Jesus.
WHAT DOES INSANITY DO TO THIS WORLD?
The insanity of this world has repercussions. It leads to further sin, further alienation from God. Paul showed in Ephesians that we are to ‘walk not as others’ do, and are not to have a mind filled with ‘vanity’. If we do, this ‘darkened’ life, alienates us from God. The world’s insanity takes one ‘past feeling’ due to a life of ‘lasciviousness, uncleanness, and greed’.
"...walk not as other gentiles walk, in the vanity of mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart... who being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness."
That passage well describes the ‘insanity’ that has replaced the sanity of our Good Shepherd.
The ‘vanity of mind’ means that thoughts are totally worthless. They do not have thoughts that are productive to their spirit, they do not accomplish any spiritual good with their minds.
The ‘understanding is darkened’ making it like being in a dark room, and what is apparent, if the lights had been on, is totally missed due to the darkness of their minds.
They also are said to be ‘alienated from the life of God.’ This means that they the blindness means separation, alienation, estrangement from God. God is light, and in Him is no darkness, so if some walk in darkness, cannot see, then, God is not walking with them, and the life and strength, the wisdom and discernment, that would come with a walking with God is absent from those who are spiritually blind.
The passage above also speaks of the ‘ignorance’ that is ‘in them’. There is a worldly knowledge, that some brag upon, with degrees, and doctorates, and proof of much study. Yet, if one is spiritually blind, they are void of real knowledge of the eternal, and they are ‘ignorant’ despite the degrees and titles.
The passage speaks also of being ‘past feeling’. This refers to an emotional breakdown in the person. They do not feel compassion for the sinner, for the weak, for the hurting. They can do immense harm and hurt to people, be insulting and abusive with ease, for there is not the emotion of guilt, shame, and remorse, as there is in people who walk in the light of God’s grace and mercy.
The passage mentions, that spiritually blind people, also have ‘given themselves over unto ‘lasciviousness’. Lasciviousness is not always a thing that is sin of itself, but it is the deed that makes one weaker, and leads to sin. So to purposely do things that make one too weak to avoid sins, is lasciviousness. The spiritually blind do not realize that this deed or action, may not be sin, but if they do it, their weakness being increased by such, is going to lead them into things that are definitely sinful. Therefore, willful lasciviousness is sinful. The spiritually blind, not seeing the danger in the path, travel it and then wonder how they were so weak they sinned.
The spiritually blind, finally get to the place where they ‘work all uncleanness’. This refers to the things that all of us know are sinful., The spiritually blind, in this final stage of the blindness, have become so depraved due to the long time of darkness, that they sin horrible, shameful sins, not realizing that they are the ones in darkness, and others see the shame of such sins, in better detail, for they are in the light.
These shameful, unclean sins, are done ‘with greediness’, we are told. The desire to gain, the desire for carnal mammon, the desire to prosper in earthly things, becomes their motivation, instead of the desire for heavenly approval and reward.
These people were ‘divided’ on whether Jesus was ‘sane’ or not. There are many today, who debate this, even in churches. They think there is a better way than He taught. They try to live the way they think will please the world, and themselves.
end of part one... more to come...