3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
The verses above followed immediately those we discussed yesterday
1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Because Jesus did this, He was accused of blasphemy by some of the teachers of the law. They would have been correct if Jesus was just a man, but He was more, much more. He was God in the flesh and He was their Messiah or Christ, but they were unable to see this truth even after the miracle He had just performed right in front of their eyes.
It was not so with the people, regular people, who saw what He had done, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man. They knew, but the teachers of the law did not. Nor did the Pharisees who were also there as we discover when we read of the same event in Mark (2:1-12) and Luke (5:17-26). They would not entertain the thought that Jesus was who He said He was, the Son of Man who has authority on earth to forgive sins. When He called Himself the Son of Man, He was both testing them and declaring who He was as the title comes from Daniel 7
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Then to make sure they understood who He was He healed the paralyzed man, Get up, take your mat and go home. Still they did not believe, because of the evil thoughts in their hearts. Also note how verse four begins Knowing their thoughts. Who but God truly knows one’s heart? Jesus not only knew their thoughts, but their hearts.
It is so easy to deceive our hearts and not truly believe Jesus is who He is or God is who He is or the Holy Spirit is who He is. It is so easy even for someone who wants to believe. For example in John 3 Jesus is teaching Nicodemus and tells him
5 “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
Nicodemus still did not understand and asks How can this be? Jesus then replies with an almost incredulous answer, a question of His own
You are Israel’s teacher and do you not understand these things?
What do you know and yet do not understand or refuse to understand?