Jump Start # 2696
Matthew 9:4 “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?’”
Our verse today comes from the miraculous healing of the crippled man. Before Jesus healed him, he said, “Your sins are forgiven.” That sent the Pharisees into orbit. Jesus can’t say that. Only God can forgive. Who does he think he is? Their thoughts were going south. They were thinking blasphemy. They were thinking of doing evil to Jesus. And, the Lord knew all of this. Without them saying a word, Jesus knew. “Knowing their thoughts,” our verse reads, Jesus knew they were thinking evil. To show and to prove that He had the authority to do these things, including forgiving sins, Jesus healed the crippled. “Take up your bed and go home,” was the command of the Lord. The crippled man did just that.
Knowing their thoughts is a great expression for you and I to give some consideration.
First, as much as we would like to, we really do not know the thoughts of others. Once in a while, we might guess right, but most times we do not know. So when we say to someone “I know what you are thinking,” we really don’t. And, many times what we say reveals that we do not know. Even couples that have been married for decades, do not know what the other is thinking. For instance, the number one question asked every Sunday is, “Where do you want to go eat?” If we knew, we wouldn’t have to ask that.
Second, it is really good that we don’t know what others are thinking. There are two sides to this and neither side puts us in a good place. If we knew the negative things people said behind our backs, it would crush us and hurt us. And if we knew how praise-worthy some think about us, we might believe that we can walk on water. Don’t try it, because you can’t. We need to spend our time focusing upon why we think the way we do and not worry about how others think. Some are so obsessed with others liking them and approving of them that they will do just about anything to please them. The approval of others can be very vain and actually not put us in a good place. We can think too highly of ourselves. Reminds me of a story I heard recently. After Sunday service, an older lady told the preacher that his sermon was among the greatest she ever heard. In fact, she declared, you are one of the greatest preachers of this generation. On the way home, as the preacher was telling this to his wife, he said, “I wonder just how many great preachers are in this generation.” His wife said, “One less than you think.”
Third, God knows what we are thinking. God knows what we need before we ask Him. There is no fooling God. He knows your motives. He knows your heart. He knows how sincere you are. He knows when you are playing a game with Him. He knows you. He knows what you are thinking.
Now, the negative side of this ought to cause us to shape up and do what is right. We can fool each other. We can play pretend all day long. We can be the hypocrite. But not with God. He knows. He knows when your tears are real and when you are trying to get attention. He knows when you are faking and when you are trying hard.
Now, the upside to this is that He knows when words escape how we feel about Him. He knows that love Him and want to be with Him. He knows when “thank you,” just doesn’t seem to be enough. He knows. He knows when you are hurting. He knows when others have hurt you. He knows when we want others to do well. He knows how much you care. He knows.
Fourth, since God knows, a fair question to ask is why then do we need words? Why pray if He knows? Why sing hymns if He knows? Why praise Him if He knows? We could just sit in silence, like a group of monks and just stare off into the distance. No words. No actions. Just thoughts. Just thoughts that God already knows. Why assemble to worship if God knows?
It is important to say it. A husband and wife love each other, but it is important to say it. Sure they know it, but they like to hear it. A parent likes to hear their child saying, “I love you.” The parent knows, but it’s wonderful to hear it. But saying it in prayers, hymns, preaching and praise, encourages others. It teaches others. It shows that we truly put God first in all things. And, the people of God have always expressed it. Blessed be the name of the Lord. God’s name is to be held in the highest honor. God’s name is an expression of authority and honor.
Finally, what we think on the inside and what we do on the outside ought to match. Just having good thoughts without an obedient life is not right. Nor, is it good to outwardly do what God says, yet our hearts are miles away from Him. In vain, the prophet Isaiah declared, the people worship me but their heart are far from me. Outside, we assemble on Sunday. Inside, we daydream, sleep, pay games on our phone. Or, we have wonderful and generous hearts on the inside but we do not follow the Biblical pattern on the outside.
God knows. The inside and the outside need to be the same. They need to mirror each other. They need to match.
Jesus knew their thoughts. Jesus knows your thoughts. Sure is something to think about.