October 01, 2020 – Thursday
John 2:23-25 NIV
23 Now while He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs He was performing and believed in His name [or in Him].
24 But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people.
25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person.
Today’s verses follow immediately after those from yesterday where we discussed verse 22 which said, After He was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. Here we have Jesus not addressing the Pharisees at the temple with His words after driving the money changers from the temple, but instead within Jerusalem [not the temple] where many saw His signs or miracles.
The verse above says He was performing signs, which is an unfortunate choice of verbiage as it implies, He was performing as in putting on a show. Looking at all versions of this verse here there are a number that say they saw or observed the signs He was doing, which is much more satisfactory. However, either way Jesus did not trust those who believed in Him or His name because of the signs they saw Him accomplish. The question is why not?
One common answer to this question is that Jesus knew that this was thin, superficial belief. It wasn’t based on anything other than an admiration of the spectacular (Guzik). Pett sees one interpretation (similar to Guzik’s) of this as the completest rebuttal of those who think people will believe because of miracles that we could have. That is what these people did, runs this view, they believed in Him because they saw miracles. But Jesus knew how unreliable such faith was, and that the only faith worth having is that which is based on an inner certainty of Who Jesus is and a full response to Him based on that certainty.
Considering both answers, one can imagine nowadays how signs or miracles would be perceived as merely shows of a sort, not worthy of truly resulting in faith and belief. Thus, did Jesus followers result from His miracles or from His sacrifice on the cross plus His resurrection? His sacrifice on the cross promised Grace rather than punishment for one’s sins and His resurrection promised life after death. This was the Good News He was bringing to everyone in saying the Kingdom of Heaven is near. His sacrifice and resurrection brought the Kingdom of Heaven near to anyone who would accept the free Gift of Grace offered.
Jesus’ miracles were important in many ways, but most important was a faith and belief in a loving and merciful God who would send His Son to pay the price for our sins. If Jesus’ miracles opened the door to such belief, all well and good, but it was the belief that was truly important. For with the belief in the gift of grace, came repentance. Then with repentance came fruit of repentance, first in one’s own life and behavior. Then followed by one’s behavior towards others.
Jesus was not a ‘performer.’ He was, is, the real deal. He came with one purpose from a loving God, His Father, as told in John 3, 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Let us believe in His miracles but let our belief in His gift of Grace be a result of knowing and believing in God’s wonderful merciful love for each and everyone of us.