“ Then He went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when His family heard it, they went out to seize Him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of His mind.’ … And His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside they sent to Him and called Him. And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are outside, seeking You.’ And He answered them, ‘Who are My mother and My brothers?’ And looking about at those who sat around Him, He said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.'” (Mark 3:20-21, 31-35 ESV)
This is a strange little episode in the life of Jesus. His mother and brothers had heard about all the work He was doing—about His preaching, His healing, His miracles. They were worried and frightened by what they heard. This didn’t sound like the Jesus they knew! And so they went out as quickly as they could to grab Him, because they said, “He is out of His mind.”
As it happens, they were wrong. Jesus was not out of His mind. He was doing exactly what God the Father wanted Him to be doing, and if it looked a little odd, He was fine with that.
But they weren’t wrong about one thing: mental illness does happen, even to believers, even to dearly loved children of God. Some of us get depression, anxiety, or mood disorders. Some of us suffer from OCD or schizophrenia. Some of us even lose our lives to these diseases.
We are still the beloved children of God, through Jesus our Savior.
We are the ones who have been baptized into Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. We are the ones He has written His Name on, the ones who belong to Him. In our weakness, that does not change. No disease of body or mind can destroy what God Himself has created within us. And if the day comes when we no longer recognize Jesus’ Name or remember what He did for us—Jesus will still be there for us. He holds us in the scarred hands that once hung from a cross for us. No one and nothing will snatch us out of His hands.
And when He raises us from the dead, all we have lost will be restored. Nothing can keep us from the love of God, now or forever.
Prayer: Dear Father, please bless and help the person I am thinking of who has mental illness. Please comfort and strengthen that person, and help me show Your love to them. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Does it surprise you to know that Jesus Himself was suspected of having a mental illness?
2. Do you have experience with mental illness that you are able to talk about without breaking confidentiality?
3. Christians who are mentally ill can behave in ways that make others worry about their faith. What comfort do you find in what you know of God from His Bible?