Matt. 9:3 – And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
This is a very enlightening phrase, short but absolutely poisonous. The Lord reveals the darkness of the souls of the religious leaders at the time of Christ. Why were they even in the meeting that day? They were hoping to find an opening, anything that they could use to trip Jesus up. They thought they found it when Jesus told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. The attitude of the Pharisees exposed the darkness of their hearts. In this verse the translation hardly brings out the intent. The word “man” is not in the original. All they said was “this” or houtos. This was a derogatory term that meant, this thing or whoever. They couldn’t even call Jesus a man; to them He was disgusting. Here is how Spurgeon explains this phrase.
“See those scribes, those students of the letter of the Word, who know how many letters there are in every Book of the Old Testament, and have counted them so accurately that they can tell which is the middle letter. Wonderfully wise men, those! Do you see them? They are very vexed and angry, and they think hard thoughts of Christ. They did not dare to speak out what they thought—the people would not have listened to them just then if they had spoken, so they held their tongues, but they did not hold their hearts, and there was a thought-reader there—not one who professed the art, but One who possessed it— and He heard where the quickest ear would have failed to detect the faintest sound. Jesus heard the scribes mentally say, “This.” If you look at your Bibles, you will find that the word, “man,” is printed in italics and that the scribes said within themselves, “This,” they meant, “fellow”— they meant any black name that you like to put in, “This blasphemer.” They would not say what they thought of Him—they did not like to call Him anything but just, “This…This offscouring.”
Amazing how even the miracles could not soften the hearts of the men who already had their minds made up. Could it be the same today? Could some be so prejudiced by what they think church should be like that they miss the uniqueness of Christ and His work? The Pharisees didn’t like roofs being ripped off or sins being forgiven; all the lame man knew is that he got his life back.