The whole of John’s gospel record revolves around showing that Jesus was God in the flesh.
John catalogs episode after episode giving evidence to this truth. In just the first two chapters, he explains how Jesus saw and knew Nathanael before he had been called by Philip to join them and pointed to much greater things that they would see (John 1.47-51). John recorded the miraculous transformation of many gallons of water becoming wine (2.1-11). He recorded the way that Jesus walked into the temple and cleaned house—as though he (or his Father) owned the place (2.12-22).
And through the rest of the book, He relays occurrence after incident where the power of Jesus as God in the flesh was evident.
But here in the end of chapter 2, there is a brief note—sort of a commentary that John offered, that illustrates another dimension of who he was:
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. (2.23-25)
Many people, having heard about the strange wonder of the water becoming wine, were curious about Jesus. When he came into the temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, people were struck by the authoritative way he spoke and acted.
The people had been longing for the promised Messiah—the king who would deliver Israel from all of their oppression and make them truly free. But, as we often do, they had imagined something quite different from what God had actually promised.
This text tells us, “Jesus… did not entrust himself to them.” He did not allow them to begin a revolution around him. He didn’t permit them to start a campaign of some sort. That wasn’t the purpose of his coming.
But John tells us why.
“He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (24b-25)
John told us back in the first few verses of his gospel record that Jesus was the force behind all of creation. He made mankind. He knows what is in there. Like some expert called in by the counter-terrorism unit at the urging of Jack Bauer in an episode of 24 to hack through a computer system or code that is highly secure simply because they designed the system, Jesus had intimate knowledge of the hearts of people. He made them. He knew their tendencies, their flaws, their longings.
That’s all well and good when we’re talking about them. But what about us?
Jesus knows what is in you and me.
He just knows.
That’s why he came.
He came to give us hope beyond our brokenness and life beyond death.
You don’t have to tell Jesus what’s in your heart because he already knows.
But, even knowing what is in us, he still came and died to give us life.
That, my friends, is amazing grace.