There was this time when Jesus was preaching to a house overflowing with people (in Mark 2). A group of guys showed up, with four of them carrying a paralyzed friend. They were trying to get in to see Jesus, apparently because they had heard of his healing the sick. After they tried to get in the house through the doors, they decided to do whatever it took to get their friend to Jesus.
They go to the roof, probably by climbing exterior stairs and began digging a hole in the roof. Imagine these guys tearing through the tiles on the roof while Jesus is preaching below. Imagine Jesus preaching while this group of determined guys opens up a hole above him.
When they get the opening large enough, they lower their friend down, right in front of Jesus. Jesus commends their faith and forgives the sins of the paralyzed guy. This incites the religious leaders who were present. They knew blasphemy when they heard it. Since only God can forgive sins, telling someone their sins are forgiven is tantamount to blasphemy. While the leaders had not yet spoken out, they were all thinking the same thing – Jesus is blaspheming!
The text tells us that Jesus knew exactly what the teachers of the law were thinking. They had said nothing. They didn’t have to say anything. Jesus knew “in his spirit” exactly what was on their hearts. In order to demonstrate that he had the authority to forgive sins, Jesus healed the paralyzed man.
Think about it for a moment – God knows our hearts. Is that frightening to you? Intimidating? Comforting? Some of each? Here are some other passages that remind us our wonderful God knows our hearts. Our God is wonderful, there is none like Him.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Chronicles 28:9
“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”
He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen
God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
1 Thessalonians 2:4
On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.