But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned among themselves, he said unto them, “Why reason you these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:6-8 KJ2000 – emphasis added)
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they discussed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know him… Then he said unto them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?… And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem… and Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have. (Luke 24:13-39 KJ2000 – emphasis added)
As I read the above passages it occurred to me that Hearts were not given us to reason and judge with, but to love. Jesus said, “Why do you reason in your hearts?” Too often as Christians we let our reason displace His love for others in our hearts. As I read these words, the truth of what He was saying hit me. Many of us left-brained religious people do not love with our hearts, but instead turn to “reason” to decide what we are to do in each situation and how we treat people. These early disciples were like the scribes in Mark chapter two, constantly reasoning in their hearts. As a result, they were blinded to the Truth that Jesus had risen from the dead just as He said He would. He had told all of them before He went to the cross that He would have to die and then rise again.
It is interesting that one woman was moved by love and not by reason, and she was the first to see the risen Christ and recognize Him!
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo’ni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:15-16 RSVA)
Mary Magdolin, upon hearing Jesus say her name, knew it was Him. Unlike the men that Jesus appeared to, she did not reason in her heart that Jesus was dead, so there was an immediate heart connection! This is one of the most touching scenes in the Bible.
Oh, dear saints, why do we reason in our hearts? God is love and if we are to apprehend all that He has for us, it will not be by our reasoning, but by responding to His love, being moved by Him, and being led of Him with our hearts filled with His love.
Jesus was motivated always by the love and mercy of the Father! Satan used reason to appeal to Eve–if she would eat of that forbidden tree, she would be on the fast track to becoming like God. That got us all in this mess we see today!
The woman was convinced [through Satan’s reasoning]. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. (Genesis 3:6 NLT)
God has given us new hearts in Christ and filled them with His love. Agape love should be the most powerful thing operating in us, telling us how to respond in each situation. The love of God in our hearts is the one earmark of those who are truly born anew of the Father. Jesus said:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
[But it was as if Peter didn’t hear a word of what Jesus was saying.]
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13:34-37 RSVA)
Again, his reasoning made him blind to the truth. We cannot apprehend the truth of God by our reasoning, but only by abiding in His love. It was the love relationship between the Father and the Son that opened Jesus to hearing His Father in all things.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. (John 5:19-20 RSVA – emphasis added)
Paul wrote that knowledge will pass away, but the greatest of all these gifts from God is love and it will never pass away. The scribes used their knowledge of the law to judge Jesus for forgiving the lame man’s sins. If they had been in their hearts instead of relying on their reason, they would have rejoiced that this man’s sins had just been forgiven and he was made whole and walked again, but they had no love in them, only judgment based on human reason. The law is subject to the knowledge of good and evil. Satan still hangs out in that tree, not the Tree of Life. Jesus came that we might have life, not death.
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57 KJ2000)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 RSVA)
And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17 KJ2000)
There is one commandment that we are to follow in the New Covenant… Love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:10-12 RSVA – emphasis added)
Or as Paul wrote:
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10 RSVA – emphasis added)
John also expanded on this theme in 1 John 4:17-21.
So dear saints, we should seek to be perfected as children of God. That perfection is found in those who abide in and are moved by His love. The world doesn’t need any more death-preaching of legalism that knows no love. It is the love of God that leads us to repentance, not preaching about His wrath and judging people for their sins. Remember, we will be judged just as we judge others, but mercy triumphs over judgment. Let us love all men with our hearts and not displace His love with our cold reasoning. Amen.