“And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casts out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. And others, tempting Him, sought a sign from Heaven from him.” [Luke 11:14-15]
Notice the different reactions of the people to the event they have just witnessed. Some wondered (KJV). The word translated wondered here is the word thaumázo which is translated elsewhere amazed. By definition it means to wonder, to be pleasantly amazed; by implication to admire: – admire, have in admiration, marvel, wonder. It is a strongly positive reaction to what they have just seen. There were others who responded accusingly and slanderously saying, “He casts out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils.” Still others were so negatively affected that they “tempted Him (demanding in a plotting way) to see a sign from Heaven.”
Some people, hungry for God and the things of the Kingdom, observe this event and are strongly, and positively moved by it. Others are moved negatively – so much so that they react in deceptive and slanderous ways. All of which shows us that what people see is often determined by the condition of their hearts, and what was in their hearts came out through their mouths. Even the Savior is not exempt from the vicious and slanderous words of men in whose hearts lurks a hateful spirit.
These religious men with suspicion in their hearts saw evil things even when they were looking full at the Son of God and directly at the Kingdom of Heaven’s miracles. Others with a hunger for the things of God saw the finger of God where the Lord was ministering. It is, as I have said before, the spirit of the gossip is all too ready to believe slander; the spirit of the murderer is eager to spill his brother’s blood; the spirit of the self-serving person is primed to elevate himself by lowering his brethren in others’ eyes. These Pharisees and Sadducees could see only evil where there was good. Jesus could do no right when they were determined to see him from a mean-spirited perspective. The solution to their problem was simple but a struggle to perform ….. they would have to repent of the evil in their own hearts before they could ever hope to see God at work in others, even Jesus.
How easy it is to see evil where there is no evil, or to judge harshly where there is no justification for harsh judgement.
When our Lord looked upon the general populace, he could have so easily seen the frailty, weakness and the evil in their hearts. But, he chose to see the finger of God and the potential instead. He saw compassionately, gently and redemptively because that’s what was in his heart. And what came out of his mouth was words of hope and grace.
What comes out of our mouths? How do we see our brethren? Do we see the worst possible scenario whether it is warranted or not? Or do we see redemptively and gently?