Skepticism

The healing of the paralytic was a sign to skeptics that Jesus and men had authority on earth to forgive sins. The scribes who questioned Jesus’ statement that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven, were said to have had evil thoughts. Jesus told the scribes that they would know that the Son of Man had authority on earth to forgive sins, when he told the paralytic to pick up his mat and walk. When the former paralytic did so, it was a sign and proof that Jesus, the Son of Man, had authority on earth to forgive sins. Questioning and then judging the work of the Holy Spirit is evil. We may not understand it, like the crowd who responded with fear and glory to God, but we should avoid skeptical condemnation, “this is blasphemy” which is evil. We are to cooperate with the work of the Spirit, not judge or condemn it. The problem with these scribes was their hardness of heart, which blinded them to the work of the Spirit. In place of spiritual sight, they substituted knowledge of the law. It can be the same for us, who study Scripture or theology, we spend so much time studying that we fail to hear and see what the Holy Spirit is doing and so judge (and maybe condemn) what we see with our knowledge and our own interpretation of Scripture. We need both a knowledge of Scripture and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s working. Jesus said that true worshipers worship God in Spirit and truth. These scribes only had truth, but lacked a knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s work and so their thoughts became evil.

So what are we to do? We need to make sure that our pursuit of knowledge is not merely intellectual, but is motivated by a desire to know Jesus and our Father more deeply. We are to pause, ask and listen to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through the words of Scripture, rather than building up our knowledge of Scripture or theology as an end in itself, while assuming that our own interpretation of Scripture is 100% correct, leaving no room for us to learn and grow.

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