When Jesus was twelve years old He went to Jerusalem with His parents to attend the Passover. On the way home, Joseph and Mary just assumed that He was in the caravan. They had gone a day’s journey before they discovered He was not (Luke 2:41-51). If you have ever left a child at church, take comfort!
On Sunday morning after Jesus’ resurrection, Mary and some other women went to Jesus’ tomb, assuming His body would be in it. They planned to finishing anointing the body. Instead, they found the tomb empty. Mary then supposed someone had taken the body, and when she saw a man standing nearby she assumed it was the gardener and asked him about it. Mary was wrong on both counts. It was Jesus (John 20:11-18).
On the day of Pentecost the apostles spoke in tongues [foreign languages]. Some present supposed that this phenomenon was produced by wine. That supposition made little sense: those who are intoxicated often struggle to speak their native language, much less one they have not studied! Luke says these were mockers, so an illogical allegation should be no surprise. The truth was, the tongues were the result of the Spirit, not overdoing “spirits” (Acts 2:1-14).
Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi. About midnight an earthquake shook the prison in such a way that the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. The jailer assumed that his prisoners would take advantage and escape. Knowing his penalty, he was about to take his own life. Paul stopped him, and before the night was over he and his household became Christians. This assumption was almost fatal in more ways than one! (Acts 16:25-40).
Some of Paul’s enemies saw him in the temple at Jerusalem. Earlier they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus. “Putting two and two together,” they assumed that Paul had defiled the temple by bringing a Gentile into it. They therefore rushed against him with inflammatory charges and stirred up a mob with the intent of taking his life (Acts 21:27-31).
These examples illustrate how easy it is to make assumptions. Some are reasonable, others are not. Some are cases of people seeing what they want to see.
The Bible cautions us to act on evidence, not assumptions. That is true in our dealings with each other and especially in relation to God. We dare not assume His will, what He does or does not approve. “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).