Jesus and Mental Cases

14. Jesus and Mental Cases

This is the first time we encounter Jesus performing a “miracle.” It’s hard to take elements of this report literally – devils coming out of someone’s body and having a conversation with Jesus! A more reasonable explanation is that this is an observer’s fanciful or creative interpretation of what he witnessed. That Jesus performed such a healing does not seem at all out of the realm of possibility, given what we know today about the power of suggestion (let alone the power of the mind), particularly when the healer is given an extraordinary level of consent, as Jesus apparently was.

The conversation referred to, if it occurred at all, may have been with a person apparently still “possessed” (still mentally disturbed). In any case, it is interesting that Jesus rebukes the speaker for referring to him as the Christ (or messiah). It supports the supposition that Jesus did not wish to be identified with either the political or apocalyptic expectations.