John 3 starts in John 2. Ha ha! Well, it is true. Sometimes that happens.
I must take note that Jesus knows me. Jesus knows all of us. He knows my heart and my soul. Will Jesus trust himself to me? I am just believing because of what He does or who He is?
While he was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. Jesus, however, would not entrust himself to them, since he knew them all and because he did not need anyone to testify about man; for he himself knew what was in man. | John 2:23-25 (CSB)
John had earlier mentioned Jesus was in town for the Passover holiday. This is a big deal in the Jewish world. Doesn’t get much bigger. He uses the occasion to launch His message about His death and resurrection. Jesus portrays Himself as the Passover Lamb. Now that is an even bigger deal.
Jesus performs signs in the festal assembly, the congregation of pilgrims there from all over the world. He did for all of them to see.
We don’t know what those signs were; but later John will refer to many signs not written in this book, and to so many deeds of Jesus that the world couldn’t hold the books required to relate them one by one.
To believe in his name is to trust in what his name means for eternal life. That name is “God,” the one name that Jesus and the Father share. So, believing in his name means believing Jesus to be God in human flesh for our salvation.
Flash-in-the pan belief doesn’t count, however. Only believing for the long term does. So, Jesus, calling on his omniscience as God, didn’t entrust himself to those believers. Though for the time being they trusted in him, he didn’t trust them. He knew they wouldn’t keep on believing. The Greek word here is normally (230 out of 241 times) translated as believe. Jesus simply didn’t believe them. And for good reason. They would kill Him in the end.
Jesus knows me. That is sobering. “He knew what was in man” is a statement that is proved several times in John’s Gospel. Jesus knew the character of Simon (John 1:42). He knew what Nathanael was like (John 1:46ff), and He told the Samaritan woman “all things” that she had ever done (John 4:29). He knew that the Jewish leaders did not have God’s love in their hearts (John 5:42), and that one of His disciples was not truly a believer (John 6:64). He saw the repentance in the heart of the adulteress (John 8:10–11) and the murder in the hearts of His enemies (John 8:40ff). Several times in the Upper Room message, Jesus revealed to His disciples their own inner feelings and questions.
And sure enough, we learn this later “Many of his disciples went away as backsliders and were no longer walking with him”
Here is a literal translation from R. H. Gundry
And when Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover in the festal assembly, many believed in his name because [they] were seeing his signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus himself wasn’t entrusting himself to them, because of [his] knowing all [human beings] 25 and because he had no need that anyone should testify concerning a human being. For he himself knew what was in a human being.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Jn 2:23–25). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (pp. 359–364). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 294). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.