“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? ..." (Matthew 9:4-6)

“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘Get up and walk’? But so you may know that the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins." [to the paralytic] “Get up, take your mat and go home." (Matthew 9:4-6)

Who and what is Jesus talking about?

Jesus is responding to “some of the teachers of the law" making offensive statements about Jesus after he said to a paralyzed man:

"Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." (Matt. 9:2)

These “teachers of the law” were questioning Jesus' authority to forgive sins. Why? Because these “teachers of the law” were envious of Jesus.

This is confirmed by Jesus' statement:
“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?"
Here "evil thoughts" comes from the Greek phrase, πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν. The word πονηρὰ refers to "bad, of a bad nature or condition: 1) in a physical sense: diseased or blind; 2) in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad."

And the word καρδίαις or kardia, means "the heart" as well as "denotes the center of all physical and spiritual life; 1) the vigor and sense of physical life; 2) the center and seat of spiritual life."

From this, we derive the common expression that relates to the heart when we discuss love. Jesus used the heart symbolically to refer to the state of one's spiritual consciousness - "the center and seat of spiritual life."

Spiritual life is based on love

Love is not a subject or noun. Love is an action verb, as in "he loves someone else." The subject is "he" and the object is "someone else" in this sentence. And "love" is the verb.

In other words, "love" isn't just floating around the spiritual world as a vague force - as in "God is love."

The reality is that the Supreme Being loves us, and the perfection of our spiritual life is when we come to love the Supreme Being. These scenarios involve a relationship.

Furthermore, such a relationship - love - is inseparable from the expression of that love in the form of loving service. Loving service is the act of doing something that is pleasing to the one we love.

Jesus illustrated his love for the Supreme Being as he worked to please Him:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)

"The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” (John 8:29)

"As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." (John 9:4)

What is the opposite of love?

Envy. Wanting what someone else has for our own self-centered desires.

This is, in fact, "evil" - "diseased or blind; evil wicked, bad."

When a person is envious of another, they are diseased. This consciousness is the opposite of love.

And this is the consciousness that these “teachers of the law” were exhibiting as they offended Jesus. Their consciousness was founded upon self-centeredness. These “teachers of the law” were looking to gain power and authority among the institutional temple. They were seeking power and authority to satisfy their own self-centered dreams of being top dog in their institution. This is why they were envious of Jesus' real authority and power.

But just consider Jesus' source of power and authority:
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)

“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)
This indicates clearly that the Supreme Being is the source of the power and authority that Jesus displayed as he forgave the man's sins. This authority is derived from the loving relationship that existed between Jesus and the Supreme Being and the fact that Jesus was working to please the Supreme Being - and this is why Jesus has authority. Jesus clearly confirmed this:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me." (John 5:30)
This is also why Jesus can say with authority to these "teachers of the law:"
"the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins."

This explains the term, 'son of man'

This also relates to why Jesus would refer to himself as υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου - the Greek being mistranslated to "son of man."

Rather, the word υἱός (huios) can only mean "son" "in a restricted sense, the male offspring (one born by a father and of a mother)" according to the lexicon. How could Jesus be speaking of himself literally as being a "son" "of man" here? What kind of distinction is that? Every male is a son of a man.

Rather, the lexicon clarifies the word υἱός in this context, as "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower." The cultural use of this word υἱός is thus "servant" within the context of Jesus' statement.

And as ἀνθρώπου means "mankind" or "humanity" and τοῦ means "of," we can arrive at the more appropriate translation of υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου:

The "Servant of humanity."

Yes, Jesus saw himself as the servant of humanity. Just as a government worker will sometimes refer to themselves as a "civil servant" or a "servant of the people," Lord Jesus humbly considered himself a servant of all humankind.

Why? Because he was teaching humanity about the Supreme Being and how to love the Supreme Being.

This is the highest service, not only to the Supreme Being, but to those who are being given the message.

Just consider the kind of authority that an ambassador - who might refer to himself as a "civil servant" or "servant of the people" - has when he goes to a foreign country and begins to negotiate with that foreign government. The ambassador, as the representative of his government, is seen as powerful as the government itself. This is because of the authority that his government conveyed to the ambassador.

In the same way, Jesus was the Supreme Being's perfect loving servant, and God's representative. His intimate loving relationship with the Supreme Being empowered him to act on God's behalf. This included the authority to forgive sins.