Jesus: Ultimate Mind Reader

   Moms and dads tend to worry when kids are out of eyesight but loud and rambunctious. They can’t see them but they hear them and they wonder if anyone is going to get hurt or something is going to break. But parents are more worried when kids can’t be seen nor can they be heard. When it’s really quiet we wonder what are they getting into? What are they trying to hide or conceal? Are they doing something they are not supposed to?

   Looking at Genesis 3, we see the familiar story of Adam and Eve. God loved them so much He placed them in the Garden of Eden to enjoy communion with Him and the rest of His creation. That is why the Church Fathers called Eden “Paradise”. Two trees were planted in the middle of the Garden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life is symbolic of eternal life through the Cross of Christ and sacrificial love. God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge because it represents natural passion and moral reasoning apart from God. Adam and Eve broke that communion by listening to the Devil Serpent (v.3:1) and eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge. Once eaten their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked (v.7) emphasizing their transition from pure love to fleshly lust. When they heard (their conscience) the Lord God walking in the Garden they hid from Him (v.8). The act of hiding is movement away from the light of God (truth) towards darkness and shame. The Lord God calls out to them, “Where are you?” (v.9). Now, of course, God asks this question not because He cannot find Adam and Eve. Rather, He asks the question to let them know where He is. In other words, the question is “Where are you in relationship to me/God?” The purpose is to guide Adam and Eve with repentance back to the light and life in communion with God. Adam said he hid with Eve because they were afraid because they were naked (v.10). Their relationship with God changed from one of love to one of fear.

   How often have we tried to hide from God? When we sin, we are acting against the commandments of God. And typically, we try to hide our sin in secrecy and darkness. We even hide them from other people unless they are in collusion with us. We hide because we are ashamed of what we are doing. We know it’s wrong. But “Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed (John 3:19-20). Our conscience accuses us and we would be embarrassed if others knew what we were actually doing. This dynamic extends and expands to our thoughts, our thinking. We can hide the most hideous and sinful thoughts in our heart and mind, delighting in the fact that no one else can see them or know them However, we forget or deny that Jesus Christ has x-ray vision. He knows our thoughts, just like He knew the thoughts of the scribes today in the Gospel of Sixth Sunday of Matthew (9:1-8) (Mt. 9:4; Lk. 5:22) who accused Jesus of blaspheming, the Pharisees (Mt. 12:25; Lk. 11:17), and both groups (Lk. 6:8).

   Are our thoughts really that important when it comes to sin? After all, it’s only our behavior and actions that can hurt other people. This is only half true because our behaviors begin with our thoughts. Jesus said:

Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Mt. 15:19). From within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness (Mk. 7:21).

   The Devil/Serpent did not force Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. He reasoned and lied to influence their thinking. Then Adam and Eve made a conscious choice to accept the Devil’s reasoning, and then they acted upon it. It’s the same way with us. We choose to think certain thoughts. Then, we choose to act on them. “The devil made me do it,” is not a valid excuse. Neither is acting without thinking a valid excuse. We are called to discernment and intentionality, which implies conscious thinking before acting.

   In the future/final judgment, God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel (Rm. 2:16). The word of God is living and powerful…is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). When the Lord comes, He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts (1Co. 4:5, Fri 6th Mt.). In the final judgment, the unrighteous and unprofitable in God’s purposes will be cast into the outer darkness (Mt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

   Forgiveness is a free gift. Jesus offers it to the paralytic today without any conditions. Jesus proves His power to forgive sins by miraculously healing the paralytic. However, His pronunciation does not mean the paralytics sins were actually forgiven because we do not know if he actually repented.

   In conclusion, confession and repentance are the opposite of hiding. They are the movement from the darkness of sin and evil to the light of God’s love. We confess our sins, not because God does not know what they are. We confess our sins (in thought, word and deed) because we need to confront and become more aware of their alienating, damaging, embarrassing, shameful, hurtful nature. This is done in a safe, caring, compassionate and loving environment of Holy Confession with the priest, who is a doctor of the soul. Jesus Christ asks us through the priest, “Where are you in relationship to Me?” In like manner, he then gives us wise and practical advice on how to return to Jesus and heal the pain and separation between us and God, between us and our neighbor, and the fracturing within of our own soul. Amen!