Jesus Knows What is in Man

by Mike Ratliff

23 Ὡς δὲ ἦν ἐν τοῖς Ἱεροσολύμοις ἐν τῷ πάσχα ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ θεωροῦντες αὐτοῦ τὰ σημεῖα ἃ ἐποίει· 24 αὐτὸς δὲ Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἐπίστευεν αὐτὸν αὐτοῖς διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν γινώσκειν πάντας 25 καὶ ὅτι οὐ χρείαν εἶχεν ἵνα τις μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου· αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐγίνωσκεν τί ἦν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ. (John 2:23-25 NA27)

23 And when he was in Jerusalem during the Passover, during the feast, many believed in his name, seeing his signs which he was doing. 24 But Jesus, himself, was not entrusting himself to them because he knew all men, 25 and because he had no need that anyone should testify about man, for he himself knew what was in man.  (John 2:23-25 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

I was in a quasi-theological discussion with a fellow I work with not that long ago. We were discussing matters directly relevant to John 2:23-25 (above) in that just because people committed themselves to some religiosity or temporal experience or the personality of a “religious leader” with a “social cause” or whatever, does not mean Jesus is necessarily committed or entrusted to them. That was basically my stance and when I stated it, the jaw of the fellow I talking with dropped and he looked at me as if I had said something that he could use against me somehow or at least challenge me. He seemed positive that he could tear up my arguments. Of course, as he objected, I offered to debate him on any of his  “issues” with what I said, but only if his part was to challenge what I said biblically. That ended it. All he had was platitudes from his favorite preacher who sounded a lot like Joel Osteen. Right now, that fellow is the most “Politically Correct” person I know so I do all I can to not have any one-on-one encounters with him at all. 

In v23 the word “believed” translates the verb ἐπίστευσαν (episteusan), “believe, entrust.” In v23 ἐπίστευσαν is in 3rd person, aorist, indicative, active case. This is not continuous action, but is something done by the subject. On the other hand, in v24 the word “entrusting,” speaking of Jesus’ not having in part in those who believed only on temporal or experiential grounds, is the verb ἐπίστευεν (episteuen), “believe, entrust.” Yes, these are both forms of the same verb. Here ἐπίστευεν is in the 3rd person, singular, imperfect, indicative, active case. What’s the difference? This is continuous or linear action in the past. Jesus deliberately did not commit himself to these people. Why? According to some versions of the Gospel I have heard in our day, this is something he would never do.

The following is from John MacArthur on this passage:

John based these two phrases on the same Greek verb for “believe.” This verse subtly reveals the true nature of belief from a biblical standpoint. Because of what they knew of Jesus from his miraculous signs, many came to believe in him. However, Jesus made it his habit not to wholeheartedly “entrust” or “commit” himself to them because he knew their hearts. Verse 24 indicates that Jesus looked for genuine conversion rather than enthusiasm for the spectacular. The latter verse also leaves a subtle doubt as to the genuineness of the conversion of some (cf. 8:31–32). This emphatic contrast between 2:23–24 in terms of type of trust, therefore, reveals that, lit., “belief into his name” involved much more than intellectual assent. It called for whole-hearted commitment of one’s life as Jesus’ disciple (cf. Matt. 10:37; 16:24–26).

I have had more people than I care to count throw back at me when I bring this up, “Yes, but God is love…” My response is that yes he is, but that is not the gospel. No one comes to saving faith in Jesus Christ through any way other than how he has prescribed and it isn’t by hearing feel-good sermons about social justice and political correctness nor about health, wealth and prosperity.

I suppose all generations of the Church have had to deal the growing apostasy, but I never thought those who I would have attacking God’s Truth with most veracity are those within the visible church.

If you are in Christ and Christ is in you then you know what I am talking about. If you are not then this message probably seems hateful to you or perhaps it has caused a lot of questions. If it is the latter then don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be glad to share the gospel with you.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

16 thoughts on “Jesus Knows What is in Man

  1. Dear Mike,

    You got me! Never really noticed this passage before…

    This is the great sadness with those who expect things in this temporal world. They ask for and demand (signs) health, wealth, extraordinary “experiences” and are not satisfied without them. They can be momentarily pacified if they perceive that they have received something, be it physical relief, money, or a spiritual high. However, does it end with the earthly fix, or does it translate into heavenly knowledge and eternal hope, in that if we are truly in Christ, we are in fact seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Eph 2:6)?

    I really appreciate the beloved who persevere under tribulation and seemingly get none of their desires filled, yet shine most brightly for Christ. Theirs is the unseen hope and faith unto salvation.

    Blessings to your ministry! charisse

  2. Charisse, yes, those three verses are sorta stuck after that passage of Jesus cleaning out the Temple and John 3. Remember, I grew up hearing that gospel of experience… It didn’t take with me so I’ve got to believe that so many others were just as self deceived as I was. Fortunatly, God took matters into his own capable hands and one Sunday captured me and would not let me go. By the end of the day, I was his forever. He did it all.

  3. Amen and God can say NO to our prayers too and the most wonderful TRUTH for the Child of God is God is always good and He is all wise. Some people think that God has to always heal or keep them safe etc. That’s simply a god of their imagination if that’s the case.
    When I drive I ask and pray for the Lord to keep me safe and that’s my hope. Is he obligated to me? NO. Just because I prayed a prayer -was that some kind of magic formula that automatically guarantees my safety? No. God answered my prayers according to His good pleasing and perfect will and I take great delight and the most joy in HIS WILL being done in my life not mine even if I do have an accident and die. He can say No just like our earthly fathers did.

    what kills me are all these “pastors” of these mega-churches having these big fancy meetings pontificating “God is going to be here”. The latest article with Greg Laurie that they “seek 500,000 professions of faith”–what? God is not obligated to them. In fact I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if God is not there at all even though they think God “has to be there”. Such arrogance..

    “But Jesus, himself, was not entrusting himself to them because he knew all men, 25 and because he had no need that anyone should testify about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”-John 2:24-25
    These are some hard truths for many to accept even some Christians. We must bend to God’s will not him bend to ours. We must let go and accept whatever God chooses to give us and even the bitter pill to swallow like good medicine and thank the Lord~

  4. Well Mike, don’t feel bad at all. I refuted (with Scripture) exposing one lady trying to point her to Jesus Christ and the truth. All the while I’m hoping and praying the Holy Spirit will convict her of her “Americanized Christianity” which she thinks is just passed down to her and that’s how we are Christians-inherited.

    I was disappointed when I found she left a comment totally ignoring all the scripture I gave to point her of her need to be “born again”. Well she used the “don’t give dogs what is sacred” @ meh. Now I’m a dog mike-lol.

    Oh well, I just see people less and less accepting the Truth no matter how lucid you present it. The Holy Spirit has to illumine it. I feel sometimes like quitting with more and more people seeming to be in a stupor. I won’t though. I cannot.

    The verse rings all the more true ““But Jesus, himself, was not entrusting himself to them because he knew all men, 25 and because he had no need that anyone should testify about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”-John 2:24-25

  5. Linda, yep, those verses really put us in our place, but notice how that person with whom you were conversing the one with whom I was conversing ignore it all and don’t see it. All they see and hear is the lies coming from their religiosity and that will never stop unless God breaks through it by his grace.

  6. There are several people on my Facebook that believe being a true Christian is by following Osteen, Meyer and the like. Until I started hiding their posts, my news feed was saturated with reposts of Meyer, Osteen, Paula White, Hinn, T.D. Jakes, etc.

    I love my friends. My heart breaks about where they put their trust. I have emailed a few and have been shocked at the response I got….I shouldn’t be shocked but I am. If a man is drowning, you’d think they’d want a life preserver. But as you said….they cannot see nor hear the truth unless God breaks through to their heart.

  7. Marlene, I know exactly what you are talking about. When we talk about out faith and Christianity, they have a different set of presuppositions that undergird their understanding of those things so we are not really talking about the same thing at all. However, I do know how to get to the point that causes God’s light to shine right at the dividing line and reveal the true from the false real quick. That point is to start exhalting our Triune God in his sovereignty over all things and that all of creation is for his glory and that includes all of us. These people do not like to hear that because their “god” is all about pleasing them, etc.

  8. A man blinded by God…a man struck deaf by God…due to His perfect judgement of the heart, cannot be made to see or hear by man. We may not even yet see their blindness nor deafness, for it begins at God’s descretion, due to sin in the heart, long before it manifest itself in their actions. This too explains the sudden change in the behavior of those who walked the path uprightly in days gone by.
    It’s not how you ran the race, but how you run the race, and finish a winner in Him.

  9. Looks like the word “sobering” fell off into the dark recesses of my mind. I am about 1/3 of the way through translating John 3 right now so I suppose at my age multitasking like this is a bit much to ask, at least if you want attention to that sort of detail. :-)

Comments are closed.