According to the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus came home for the first time after visiting John the Baptist in the wilderness, his family and friends thought he had lost his mind.  “He’s gone crazy,” they said of Jesus.  In the Greek, the word is existemi, which means something like, “as mad as a monkey on a tricycle.”

John, you may recall, is the guy who reportedly ate locusts and wild honey, and wore clothes made of camel hair.  He’s the guy who took on the religious, military, and financial establishments.  He’s the guy who lost his head for telling the emperor he had no clothes.  He’s also the guy who had become the single-most important influence on Jesus’ early life.  When Jesus went to see John, he was just a carpenter’s kid from Nazareth; by the time he returned come, he was Messiah – preaching good news to the poor, healing the sick, challenging the local powers, calling people to repentance and faith.

And the people wondered out-loud: What’s gotten into Jesus?  Has he gone completely crazy?

This is generally what happens when God’s vision for the world collides with the well-accepted realities of the world.  Whenever the status quo is confronted by the possibility of newness and transformation, the empire strikes back.  In this case, they called Jesus a madman and tried to dispose of him.  But this so-called madness had already begun to spread among his village, and a movement was well underway.

St. Anthony said it best: “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, “You are mad, you are not like us.”

Maybe you’ve found yourself, after looking at the world, wondering, “Am I crazy, or is that just not right?”  If you ever have, take heart: while you may indeed be crazy, crazier still is accepting as right anything that falls short of God’s vision for the world.  So if that world happens to call you crazy for your faith, then grab a tricycle and start pedaling.  You can make it all the way to the Kingdom that way.


Photo Credit: crowolf