Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man.
John the Evangelist, the Gospel writer concludes what we know as chapter 2 of his gospel account with the above words. They are just 3 verses tacked onto the end of what we have as a chapter [chapters and verses were of course a much later insertion for ease of reference].
Yet they tell us so much that is fundamental to the Christian faith about both God and about us.
God knows all things; we don’t.
God deals in substance, not froth; we don’t.
God deals in what is important, critical, vital; we look at the immediate, the impressive, the impact on our 5 physical senses.
And our senses are not at all reliable when it comes to the fundamental truths of what we are and of what we truly need.
Our senses perceive and are totally absorbed by the material world we find about us.
God, on the other hand, is concerned with the unseen, non material but truly substantial world of the spiritual.
God has the right perspective; we don’t.
In this account here, men give credence to Christ because they see miracles. They see what is physically impossible made possible by divine intervention. They are taken with the moment, the event, the spectacle.
They may even be taken with the miracle worker himself. How amazing, how wonderful; what a guy; what a hero.
But John here makes clear that their allegiance is transitory and false. Men are taken with what Jesus did, not with Who he is.
They are not concerned with why he did the miracles, but with the act itself.
Would they believe without the miracles ? The answer from the logic of what is recorded here, is that they would not.
And that is the fundamental concern. God is not a freak show, an entertainment to distract us from our hum drum lives for 5 minutes.
God is there to be our lives; to be our purpose; to be our strength and goal and desire. Not what he does, but Who he is.
He is permanent and he is fundamental and what he does is permanent and fundamental.
But Jesus says here that he knows what is in man.
He knows that within the heart of hearts of a human being there is a fundamental hatred of God born of a deep sense of what we are before his utter righteousness – abject sinners, selfish through and through; concerned only to have our senses stimulated at whatever cost. Concerned only for this world and all its superficial nonsense and distraction.
And that is the question for us all. Is it just what God can do now that matters ?
Or what he does in the eternal ?