“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4)
Can you imagine what it must have been like to witness Jesus perform a miracle? How amazing would it be to see Jesus defy the laws of nature? What was it like to see a prayer answered right before your eyes?
Matthew records the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man. It is a beautiful story of a group of men who bring a paralyzed friend to Jesus. Jesus and his disciples had crossed over the Sea of Galilee. When they arrived on the shore, these men met Jesus with the hope that this man, who spent his days lying on a mat, would be healed. When Jesus witnessed this beautiful scene, he noted the faith of the men and extended mercy. Jesus told the man on the mat, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2)
When some of the teachers of the law heard this, they immediately began to say negative things. Instead of focusing on the beauty of the mercy and grace being offered in this wonderful moment, they focused on the negative. Jesus confronted their negative attitude and healed the paralyzed man. This amazing act of healing silenced the crowd.
When I read this passage from Matthew, I could not help but think about how we often react to scenes of mercy and grace today. We live in a culture that often finds it hard to celebrate anything positive. Social media, television, radio, and newspapers all seem to reflect a culture that easily gravitates to the harsh and critical.
Jesus confronted the same attitude during his time. He asked those around him, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” It is a worthy question for us to consider today. Why is it so difficult to see the beauty in the moments of grace and mercy that so readily surround us? When we focus on things that are small and inconsequential, we are missing the gift that Christ has given us. I believe that if we focused on the good, the beauty around us, we will find that this world is a much more wonderful place than we often believe. The same loving God who extended mercy and grace on the shore so long ago, is the same God at work in our world today.
– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship