He Was Beside HimselfFebruary 21, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Mark | 7 Comments
Tags: 2 Corinthians 5, Acts 26, Apostle Paul, common expressions from the Bible, Festus, insanity, King Agrippa, Mark 3, method to his madness
And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Mark 3:21, emphasis added
This is an expression we still use for people today when we are implying that they are not “in their right mind.” Some of the ancients believed that a person’s psyche could actually leave his body and hover next to the person, inducing a state of madness or lunacy. The friends of Jesus who knew Him before He began His public ministry were concerned that He may have lost His mind, going around performing miracles, preaching, and claiming to be the Messiah. After all, He was only a simple carpenter’s son from Nazareth.
C.S. Lewis is known for positing the so-called “Trilemma:” He wrote that the claims of Jesus Himself were such that no one can marginalize or minimize His ministry or Person by referring to Him as simply a “good teacher.” The life of Jesus and His Words leave us with only three alternatives: He was a liar, He was a lunatic, or He was Lord. The overwhelming evidence (and in fact the incontrovertible Truth) is that He was Lord.
Paul and the Apostles later faced this same accusation.
For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
II Corinthians 5:13, emphasis added
If you serve God and proclaim the Gospel in this dark world, where sin and unbelief are the prevailing atmosphere, there are going to be times when your sanity is questioned. This has never stopped the Lord’s true servants. We rest in the knowledge that we are not “beside ourselves.” In fact, we are more sane and in touch with reality when we walk in the Spirit of the Lord than we are at any other time.
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
Acts 26:24-25, emphasis added
We may not be able to stop people from calling us “mad,” but at least we can make sure that there is “a method to our madness.”