23 ¶ Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
Here's one of those curious and "difficult" passages that makes me think again just when I think I have Jesus all figured out. "Many believed in His name," but in contrast, Jesus "was not entrusting Himself to them." Literally the Greek New Testament translates: "many believed in His name" but "He was not believing in them."
Well now, that hardly seems fair, does it? After all, I have bestowed upon Jesus the great honor of putting my faith and trust in Him, and yet here it seems as if He is unwilling to reciprocate. How dare He???!!!? Who does He think He Is???
Oh wait, He thinks He Is the I AM." He thinks He Is the One Who Is and Who Was and Who Is Coming. He thinks He created the universe and holds it together by His Word, and He thinks He created a creature in His image called man who violated His love and His law, and brought sin and death into a creation that was meant to be sinless and deathless. He thinks He had tried everything in the Book (HIS Book!) literally, to bring mankind out of sin and death, and He thinks He probably will have to die a bloody, horrible and undeserved death to finally make that happen. He thinks He has the right to insist that mankind should trust in Him and His sacrifice, but He also thinks He can never trust man, at least not in this present evil age.
Oh wait, He doesn't just think all of that: He knows it and says it and makes sure all of that truth is woven through His Word from start to finish.
So, Jesus loves me, He has compassion and mercy on me, He gives grace to me, He bring hope to me, He promises to bring me to ultimate salvation, He give me His Word to pass on, but still . . . He just doesn't trust me. Jesus flat out doesn't believe in me, and none of the Oprah-izing false prophets who fantasize bout such falsehood can change that. It's not the warm and fuzzy comfort food we crave, but the cold hard bread of life and the absolute truth that nourishes us: Jesus doesn't believe in me, or in you, or in any person, not even His own people.
Hmmm. Well, when I think about, at this stage of salvation, I don't trust myself either. And, guess what? I also don't trust any other human being, not really, nor should I, nor do I see any admonition in God's Word that I should. I am told to love my brother, to encourage my brother, to have mercy on my brother, to lift up my brother, to protect my brother, to admonish my brother, and even to lay down my life for my brother, but never, ever, ever in God's Word am I told to trust my brother, to believe in my brother. So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, guess what? I l love you all, I really do!
BUT: I don't believe in you, I don't trust you because, like Jesus, I know the dark sin that is in you. And how do I know this? Two reasons: 1) God's Word says so and 2) I know the dark sin in myself.
So what now? If I only trust the Lord Jesus, but I don't trust you and I don’t trust me, and I don't expect that you should trust me, what are we to do?
Well, beloved ones, there is something to do, and here it is:
"12 ¶ So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. "
I don't need to trust you to forgive you, to be kind toward you, to be humble toward you, to be gentle toward you, to clothe myself with love and peace and seek unity with you, poor sinners and wondrous saints that we all are.
***Oh, and one more thing: since I can't trust you, but I can and will bear with you, I'll stop trying to find and cure every little thing I see wrong with you, because I'm probably not pure enough to even try to get inside you and tear out all the imperfections that sin brings. I'm going to stop looking at the little Lego in your eye, and I'm going to get the huge plastic lawn chair out of my own eye.
Tell you what, since I don't trust you and you shouldn't trust me, I'll make a deal with you: I'll stop trying to fix you and you stop trying to fix me. Let's trust in the Lord Jesus Christ together (who doesn't trust any of us) and accept that He'll bring this all together for good if we just hang in there with each other under His name and His promise. Is it a deal?
With trust in Christ and love for the brethren,