What it Means that Jesus Perceived in His Spirit

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? (Mark 2:8 KJV)

When Jesus declared the sins of a paralyzed man forgiven, the religious leaders who heard Him reasoned in their hearts that Jesus was blaspheming in forgiving the man’s sins. In response, Jesus perceived in His spirit what they were thinking in their hearts. What does this mean?

Interestingly, the meaning of perceiving in His spirit is quite simple—except we complicate things by looking for “deeper meanings” of the term “spirit”. In the Gospel of Matthew, we find two parallel verses that explain the meaning of the phrase “perceived in His Spirit”: Matthew 12:25 says, “Jesus knew their thoughts,” and 9:4 says, “Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?”

So to perceive in His spirit means to know in His mind, just as you can know anything in your mind. However, the difference is the source of that knowledge. For example, Jesus could have looked at their faces and inferred from their facial reactions what they were thinking. That is one source of knowledge—the flesh. This is mind reading, which is not what Mark 2:8 teaches.

Contrary to the fleshly source of knowledge, Jesus knew people’s thoughts by the Spirit. The Spirit of God made Him know what people were thinking; this is the gift of the word of knowledge at work. Rather than knowing through His senses (eyes and ears), Jesus knew by the Spirit, as prophesied by Isaiah: “ he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears” (Isaiah 11:3 KJV).

So perceiving in His spirit means knowing the thoughts of the people through knowledge that comes from the Spirit. 


Why is the term “spirit” not with an upper case “S” in Mark 2:8? What is the difference?

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