I heard a story the other day about a family seemingly ruined by the mental health issue of the oldest child in the family. I thought it was worth sharing today, given events.This family had five sons and at least two daughters. The father died leaving the mother to care for the family. The oldest son had always seemed a little abnormal and after years of living at home and helping take care of the family, he moved out around 30 years old having never married. At that point, he seemed to really deteriorate.We hear stories sometimes of people who develop mental health issues and claim to see things or they claim to be someone like Napoleon or Jesus or whoever. And that’s what apparently happened here. The oldest son left his family and started claiming wild things. He claimed he was Jesus. He claimed he could heal people. He claimed he could see demons and angels. This was beyond Hale Bopp level nuttiness as far as his family was concerned.The family tried to stage an intervention, but it didn’t work. The mom and the guy’s brothers showed up one day and tried to get him to go home with them. They feared for him. They were afraid he was going to get hurt. They told people he had lost his mind. But he had reached an age where they really couldn’t do anything to force him home. Later, they tried again to see him. But the guy told the people in the room with him that they were his family, not his real family outside the door trying to get in. The most striking thing is that his mom knew he was a special, gifted guy, but she just couldn’t understand what was going on. Eventually, everyone kind of gave up except the mom. Moms are always the last ones to give up. The brothers, at one point, told their oldest that if he really thought he was that special he needed to leave town and go to the big city. And he did.Sadly, about three years after all the craziness started in full swing, the guy died. The family knew he was going to die. His mom went to be with him. It does not appear his brothers even showed up. In fact, as the guy was on the verge of death, he had to tell his best friend to be sure to take care of his mom. His brothers were not by her side.It was a tragic ordeal for the whole family. Just a mess. The dad had died and it seemed the oldest brother has lost his mind and he too dies.Now if the story stopped there, it’d be just a tragedy. But the story turned. In fact it turned pretty dramatically. Something happened and his brothers, who had given up on him in life and wouldn’t show up to watch him breathe his last breaths nailed to a cross, suddenly became convinced he actually wasn’t crazy. They became convinced he really was Jesus — the Messiah.Turns out that after he died, his brother James, along with a few hundred other people, became so convinced he had come back to life and they’d seen him —physically, not a ghost — that James joined in with Jesus’s friends and became not just a believer, but an early leader of a movement. It wasn’t just James, but Jesus’s other brothers too. James, we learn from historians, was thrown off the roof of the Temple in Jerusalem, did not die, and so was stoned and beaten to death. His brother Simon, took his spot proclaiming Jesus as Messiah. Their brother Jude too took up the cause. The brothers of Jesus and his mother made up the early church when it was small. And it has grown by billions over two thousand years despite persecution, death, harassment, and ridicule.We have arrived at an age not of disbelief, but of unbelief. People start by rejecting never changing God in favor of ever changing science and then find their excuses to justify their unbelief. The trend these days is to claim Jesus never existed. They’ll accept Socrates based on the accounts of Plato, but they reject Jesus based on the accounts of eyewitnesses and secondary sources. To reject Jesus, they have to reject the well documented as having existed Irenaeus because Irenaeus heard the well documented as having existed Polycarp. Polycarp studied under Jesus’s best friend who appointed Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna. But Polycarp must be rejected because he studied under the Apostle John who must be rejected because he was an eyewitness to Jesus.James, Jesus’s brother, must be rejected. Jude, Jesus’s other brother must be rejected. A great many people must be rejected to claim that Jesus did not exist. Or a great many people must be claimed to be both crazy and charismatic to have conjured up some guy, share common stories about him, and over time convinced billions he existed.His own family thought Jesus was crazy. His mother, who had an Angel of the Lord appear to tell her she was with child even though she was a virgin, tried to stage an intervention because the family thought Jesus had lost his senses. But after his death they became staggeringly convinced he had come back to life. Even unto torture and death — when it would have profited them to reject him — they held to that belief.And that is why today, in Washington, so many people are marching for life. Because they believe by faith what others saw first, nail scarred hand and believed. They believe by faith what Jesus’s own brothers rejected until he had died and then they, for reasons some dismiss as myth, were willing to proclaim him as Lord even while being thrown off the roofs of buildings and stoned to death.You may choose not to believe. You may decide to claim Jesus lived, but was not God. You may decide the only way you can get around it is to claim he did not live. But billions accept the written testimony of those who were eyewitnesses to history and they accept that, as a result, they must commit themselves to preserving life even on a wintry day in Washington when they’d rather be home.Before the world, Jesus is. And that obligates us to fight on.
A Family's Struggle With Apparent Mental Health Issues Turns to Life