Matthew 9:4 “Why are you entertaining evil thoughts in your hearts?”
In this context we can start with a couple of foundational truths… Jesus is in His hometown, Nazareth. He has just gotten off of a boat and some men bring Him a paralytic laying on a mat! Jesus immediately sees the faith of these unnamed men and decided without even being asked, but knowing what their faith believed to heal this man
“Why are you thinking evil thoughts in your heart?”
In the context of this verse we learn that some things have taken place to bring about this statement.. #1. Jesus is in His hometown Capernaum when He takes note of the faith of some people, possibly the paralytic and those who were getting them to Jesus.. Jesus stumbles upon a great opportunity to show His authority. Has He healed people before? yes! Has He performed miracles on this scale before?? Yes! But there was something different about this time.. This time He connected the healing to forgiveness.
While there was a scribe in the very last chapter telling Him he would follow Him wherever He went, there were now scribes saying among themselves.. “This man is blaspheming” In other words, He’s speaking evil, who does He think He is to forgive sins.. In other words.. there was no mercy being shown and in this evil had come into their hearts, and in fact they were setting up shop to start the plan to destroy Jesus’ healing ministry all together..
Now who in their right mind would be mad because someone got healed and were made better..
There were three groups of people on the scene, there were the disciples, the multitude and the scribes.. And Jesus, the Everlasting, Ever loving Son of God, in all His power.. and He says to this paralytic to take heart that his sins had been forgiven..
What was in that statement.. No one can forgive someone anything they did not do to them personally, for instance I can not forgive the person who raped the lady down the street for her, it is her job to forgive them, for I could forgive while she still holds a grudge and stews in anger, hatred and bitterness and wants to get back at them.. Well, the statement Jesus was making was that this man had sinned indeed and the sin was against Him.. Do you know how hard it is to forgive a person who wronged you in this day in age.. they will find you at a second line and shoot you and cause an uproar in a crowd, harming others unnecessarily before they forgive.. They will kill innocent bi-standers to get to one person.. You would be shocked what a scorned unforgiving person would do.. Yet we wonder why we have so much depression and anti depressants, and crimes and bitterness causing all types of stress and disease in the body..
The Sin and the Sickness in this instance were connected.. In this case Jesus had allowed the sickness to come upon him but could easily remove it whenever He chose to forgive.. when Jesus saw his faith that was His cue and He didn’t even demand a repentance.. The healing was proof of forgiveness.. that would have otherwise not been known.. The crowd marveled that Jesus had been healed and others marveled why Jesus would do such a thing thinking it was completely wrong.. Amazing that two people can go to a movie, see the same thing and have totally different views of it.. Faith was powerful in the fact that it was what bought about this man’s forgiveness manifesting itself in healing. You can easily identify then that the reason they were thinking the evil thoughts was because they were envious.. Today the question for reflection is.. When I am thinking ill of another person, evil in Jesus’ terms what are the conditions in my heart that need to be addressed!
How is it possible for us in today’s time to address what was happening in this time in our own hearts. We are familiar now with what it meant then. What was in their hearts was ultimately jealousy that Jesus had done such a great thing and they had not. What was in their hearts were hatred, and it was against God’s own anointed because God had chosen to be generous enough to forgive someone else. What was in their hearts was relevant in that time because it could cause them to sin by killing the most High Son of God.
Now let’s move quickly through this. Today, we think it is not possible for us to be so evil to think something so vile against one so holy, surely we would recognize His holiness and reverence Him accordingly.. But this was not the case then and it certainly isn’t the case now. We know that we can have some very evil thoughts we entertain in our hearts and yet we do it anyway. How can we change it? What can we do to stop this from leading to some grievous sin against our Father in heaven? we can ask ourselves key note questions, taking every though captive we are to be more mindful of the fact that we do have an issue and we need to deal with it down at it’s very root and that is being a Christ follower at the very heart of it all!
What we can do now, is address those ugly, dark thoughts when they come up in our hearts by confessing them in prayer before God and even sometimes to friends who are more spiritual than ourselves seeking godly advise and prayer on how we may do things differently the next time these thoughts come to rightly extinguish them.