John 2:18-25; 1:12, 6:64, 7:3-5, 16:30, 21:15-17
How many people really know you? Most of us are careful about what we let other people know about us. Whether we are afraid of what they would think of us if they knew certain things, or might even use it against us, men in particular tend to “keep our cards close to our vest.” But Jesus knows you. He knows everything. That can be the most frightening thing you’ve ever heard, or the most liberating. Join Brett Clemmer as he shares from the gospel the awful and wonderful truth of how well Jesus knows you. It’s going to be a great day!
Session 6: Jesus Knows You
All right, well, good morning. We are here, it’s the Man in the Mirror Bible study. We’re in our Jesus Unfiltered series. And I am really excited as we walk through this study of the Book of John together. And we’re really doing it from the stand point of learning about who Jesus is. And part of the reason that John is great book for this, is because at the end of the book John actually tells us why he wrote the book in the first place. He said, “I wrote this Gospel, I wrote this story,” He’s an exile when he writes this probably on the island of Patmos. He said, “I wrote this story so that you would know about Jesus. And so that by knowing about him, you would believe in him.” And so, that’s why John is such a great book to go through when we’re really trying to figure out, who is Jesus? And what do we need to know about him? And then what does it take to believe in him?
So, we’re looking at Jesus unfiltered. And today we’re talking about how Jesus knows you. Jesus knows you. And that might be a terrifying thing, or it might be a liberating thing. But, either way, it’s a true thing. Jesus knows you. Jesus knows me. So, what we’re going to do, is we’re going to go through this, we’re going to talk about this story at the end of John 2, and we’re going to talk about the fact that Jesus was showing signs, and it wasn’t signs that the people wanted. It was not the signs that the people wanted. So, and then we’re going to talk about when is faith not a saving faith? When is faith not a saving faith? And then finally, this fact that Jesus knew what was in man. That’s the verse in John 2, Jesus knew what was in man. So, what are the ramifications for that?
Mark Twain famously once said, and you can, it’s probably not true because other people have said it too, but … Mark Twain famously once said, “I once sent a dozen of my friends a telegram saying, ‘Flee at once, all is discovered!’ They all left town immediately.” And I’ve heard that story in various ways, but my favorite version of is that somebody sent, in the early 1800s, a letter to everyone in Congress, “Flee at once, all is discovered!” And Congress fled town. So, that might be an interesting one to try today, right? So, what is it about everything being discovered about you that’s so crazy, that makes you so afraid, that makes you so worried? And it’s because we all, I think we all live with this feeling that if people really knew me, if people really knew this thing that I’m holding inside, they wouldn’t like me. Or worse, they know how terrible of a person I am, how evil of a person I am, how wicked my heart is. And yet, we’re going to see in this passage that John is very clear that Jesus does know everything about us. And yet, in spite of that, he chooses us.
So, let’s go … If you have a Bible, turn to John chapter 2 verse 18. And we’re going to read John 18 and to the end of the chapter, which is verse 25. Now, we talked last week about Jesus clearing the temple, it’s one of my favorite stories, I’m very jealous that Pat got to do it. But, here’s my favorite thing about that story, in John, that story starts up in verse 13. It says in verse 15, “And making a whip of cords.” What I love about that is that it’s like … You know what that is, right? It’s like pre-meditation. He didn’t just walk into the temple and get ticked off, and start driving people out. He sat down, made a weapon, and then went after everybody. Right? So, it was very intentional what he did. And so, and it say, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Was a saying that the disciples remembered.
So, then we pick up the story in verse 18. And it’s right after, now he’s cleared out the temple. And so, the Jews are reacting to Jesus clearing out the temple. And they said to him in verse 18, “What sign do you show us for doing these things? And Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It’s taken 46 years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?’ But, he was speaking about the temple of his body when therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”Verse 23, “Now, when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But, Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”
So, let’s pray and pray that God would illuminate our minds about him in this scripture. Father, you’ve made such an amazing sacrifice in sending your son to come and live among us, walk among us, experience everything that we experience. Father, your son did stuff, I mean walked around, interacted with people. And showed his nature, showed your glory in everything that he did, Lord. And he cleared out this temple. And he did signs. And, Lord, we want to decipher what that means, how we can learn about our relationship with you through these things that Jesus did. And, Lord, we know what’s in our hearts. We know the things that we keep hidden. Lord, would you help us today, this morning, to realize that those things don’t disqualify us from your love, that you love us because you choose to love us. And that you save us because you choose to save us. And, Lord, may that be a comfort and bring peace and liberation into the way that we live our lives moving forward. In Jesus name, amen.
All right. So, Jesus has just cleared out the temple and the Jews are saying, “Seriously, dude,” basically they’re saying, “What gives you the right to come and clear out this temple?” Now, you remember that the Jews were very much into sort of identity. Remember when John showed up on the scene, and they’re like, “Well, are you the Christ? Are you the Messiah?” “No, I’m not the Messiah.” “Well, are you Elijah then?” “No, I’m not Elijah.” “Well, are you the prophet?” “No, I’m not the prophet.” And they say back in John 1 verse 25, “Then why are you baptizing?” So, we have kind of a very similar situation here. They’re looking at Jesus, and they’re like, “Why are you messing up our temple marketplace? By whose authority are you here doing that?” Because, the priests are the ones that set up the marketplace in the first place, the immediate past high priest that was like their pension was they got to run the marketplace.
Incidentally, when Jesus goes on trial at Caiaphas’s house, Caiaphas is the immediate past high priest. It’s Caiaphas’s marketplace that Jesus trashed. So, you can see why Caiaphas was a little upset. Right? And so they’re looking at him like … Basically they’re saying this, “Who do you think you are?” And so, they’re like, “All right, then show us a sign. If you’ll show us a sign, then that will help us to know what your authority is.” And so Jesus says, “You want a sign, I got a sing for you. Tear this temple down and I’ll rebuild it in three days.” Now, the passage says, “It’s taken us 46 years.” But, they were still building the temple at this point. It was still under construction. So, what they’re really saying is, “We’ve been at this for 46 years already, and you’re just going rebuild it in three days?” It wasn’t like 200 years ago, it took 46 years to build this temple. It’s like, “No, dude, for the last 46 years this thing has been being built and being built and being built.”
It’s like that building on I-4 that we’ve all been watching not be built. Right? But, they’ve been watching this building being worked on, this temple being worked on for 46 years running and Jesus comes in and says, “Well, if you tore it down I could do it again in three days.” That’s what they think he is saying. But, that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying, “No, this is the temple. Tear down this temple. And I’ll bring it back to life.” Right? “I’ll bring it back alive in three days.” And so, they don’t understand. But, what they’re really looking for, is they’re looking for him to justify why he’s doing what he’s doing. They want a sign. Right?
Now here’s the interesting thing. Look at verse 23, “Many believed in his name when they saw” what? “The signs he was doing.” So, isn’t this interesting that in the first part of this they’re saying, “Hey what sign to you give us to show us that you’re capable of doing this.” And then the very next passage it’s like, “Yeah, he was doing signs.” So, they weren’t really looking for signs, because there were signs that he was doing. What was he doing? What do we know that he was doing? He was healing people. Right? He fed … He multiplied food and fed tons of people. And he was preaching. You realize that Jesus was the best teacher that ever walked the face of the Earth. He could walk into a crowd, and he could preach and teach as a Rabbi, and the least intelligent or least schooled person would understand what he was talking about. And the most educated person would understand what he was talking about. And that’s masterful teaching.
So, it’s obvious that Jesus has authority. You can look later on in John, we’ll see passages where they’re … Jesus sort of puts the Pharisees on the spot when they question him. “Who do you say I am?” Or “Was John’s baptism real?” “Well, what do you say it is?” He makes them take out a coin in the temple, when he says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” Right? Well, what we don’t realize is that when they pulled out that coin, it had a person’s face on it. And they were in the temple. That made it an idol. They brought and idol into the temple. And Jesus just nails them with it. Right? So, Jesus really is quite capable of showing signs.
In fact, he’s given them everything that they need to know already about who he is. But, they don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to believe it. Now, they’ll follow the signs. “Oh, well, if he’s going to heal me. Well, yeah I’ll believe in his healing power.” “Oh, he’s a great speaker. I’ll believe in his speaking power.” “Oh he can feed me. All right I don’t know if he just got people to pull food out that they were hiding, or if he actually made it more. But, all I care about is that I got food in my belly.” That’s the signs they want. The signs that they want are the ones that are self-serving signs, the things that benefit them. It’s not really about who Jesus is, it’s about what they can get from him. Those are the signs that they’re looking for.
So, Jesus is in Jerusalem at the Passover feast. Remember when he cleansed the temple sort of at the beginning of the week, leading up to Passover, and then now this sort of giving … John’s giving us a little chronology here. Verse 23, “Now he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast.” So, a few days later. “Many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But, Jesus on his part didn’t entrust himself to them, because he knew all people. No one needed to bear witness about man.” In other words, no one needed to explain man kind to Jesus. “For he himself knew what was in man.” And so, he sees what’s going on. He sees that … Or he understands the questions that he’s being asked. And he knows that what they’re asking him is not really what they want to know.
What they’re saying that they want to know is not really what they want to know. They want signs that take care of them, they don’t want signs that point to a larger truth of who Jesus is, and what salvation is about. They just want something right now. And this is when faith is not a saving faith. This is going to do this every time. This is when faith is not a saving faith. When your faith is in the signs, but not in Christ, then you’re looking to be served. You’re looking for something that benefits you. And Jesus was very clear. Remember in John 21 when he was talking to Thomas? They were in the upper room and Jesus appeared the first time, and Thomas wasn’t there. So, Thomas comes back and says, “What? You guys saw him? You guys are crazy. When I can put my hand in his wounds, then I’ll believe.”
So, Jesus comes back, because he loves Thomas. And Thomas sticks his finger in his side, and touches the scars at Jesus’ invitation. And Thomas is like, “You are the Christ! You’re the son of God!” It’s an incredibly bold theological statement that you would think Jesus would go, “Yeah, Thomas way to go.” Instead he goes, “Well, that’s great. I’m glad that you believe because you’ve touched me. But, you know who is really blessed? The people that believe and haven’t even seen me. Those are the people that are really blessed.” Faith is not a saving faith when your faith is in the signs, not in Jesus who is doing the signs. Faith isn’t a saving faith when it’s for your own glory and not for Christ’s glory.
We see this in John chapter 7. Turn over a couple of pages. And we see the story of Jesus’s brothers in John 7:3. It says, “So, his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea that your disciples also may see the works you’re doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.’ For no even his brothers believed in him.” Versus 3 and 4 are cool. His brothers are like, “Man, you’re Jesus Christ. You’re the son of God. You’re our brother. But, you’re the son of God. And people need to know about you because you’re doing all these miracles. So, you should go to Jerusalem so everybody can see it.” “Come on, bro let’s go to Jerusalem.” Then the next verse says, because they didn’t believe in him. It’s like, wait a second they just said you should go, so that everybody will know who you are. But, then John says that they didn’t believe in him.
No, what they believed in, it was that they had a gravy train. They had their brother, their oldest brother, they could go with him to Jerusalem, and all the crowds would follow him around. And they would gain from their bother’s notoriety. That’s what’s going on here. And we see this in the church, unfortunately, sometimes. This is a big issue in the, especially in some of what’s going on in Africa for instance. Where there are people who are claiming to have power from God, and then they use that power to build their own reputation. They use that power to build their own … They use God’s perceived power to build their own power among people, and then threaten people. If you don’t give me this, if you don’t do this for me, if you don’t do that for me, if you disobey me … Me, not God, not the Bible, me then I’m going to withdraw God’s blessings from you. And let me tell you, if you put your faith in that guy rather than in God, you’re going to … It’s not saving faith. You’re not trusting in the right thing.
And we see this, sometimes we want our own glory, we don’t Christ’s glory. We want our own glory. So, we’ll believe. We’ll go to church. We’ll take that leadership position in our church. We’ll have people under us. And we do it all in … We know all of our words. We can pray really good. We can spout Bible verses really good. But, in the end, it’s not about giving Christ glory, it’s about giving ourselves glory. That’s not saving faith. That’s just self-serving. And then probably the worst kind of faith that’s not a saving faith is the faith when you think that you’re believing the right thing, but you’re not believing in the right thing.
Matthew 24:24, Jesus warns about this specifically. “For false Christs and false prophets will arise” and do what? “Perform great signs and wonders so as to lead astray if possible even the elect.” So, if you can’t use the signs and wonders Jesus is saying. I was in Malaysia a while back, 10 or 12 years ago I was in Malaysia, maybe even a little bit longer. And I was at a service, and I went to the service, and I got to speak in the service, and then I went out to lunch with the pastor of the church afterwards. Wonderful man, had this big huge church, they had a church that had two floors. And the upstairs sanctuary they had 1,000 seats and that was their English speaking service. And then downstairs they had another room that could seat like 600, that was their Chinese speaking service. And they had these services going concurrently. And I mean, just amazing. The place was rocking, let me tell you.
So, I was talking to the pastor afterwards. And he mentioned something about healing in … I’m Presbyterian, I mean, we’re a little bit low key. Okay? I got to hand around Jim Angelokos just so I have some Assemblies of God kicking in. I like Steve Brown, he said, “If you want a really good theological talk, talk to a Presbyterian. But, if you’re sick, go to a charismatic.” So, anyway, I’m not trying to get any theological stuff going on here. But, so I talked … His name is Chris and I said, “Chris … ” We started talking about, I don’t even know how it came up. And we started talking about healing. And so I said, “Oh well do you have …” I’m a skeptic. “Do you have healings that go on in your church?” He said, “Oh yeah, all the time.” I said, “Oh. That’s great.” And I said, “Can you … Is that an important part of your church?” And he said, “Oh, Satan heals people here.”
I went, “Excuse me?” And he said, “This is Malaysia, Satan heals people here. Healing people is not about getting them to believe. We believe in the supernatural. We see it all the time, around us all the time. If we just … If we thought healing is what … If somebody was healed that was a result of their faith, that would be crazy. We have to understand who Jesus is. We have to understand that Christ came, Christ died, Christ rose, and Christ is coming back. The healing is just something that God chooses to do. The supernatural is all around us. We see it all the time. That’s not what saves us. What saves us is Christ saves us. And yeah, God heals people here. Satan heals people here too. You can’t rely on that for anything.” I was like, “Wow!” I had never heard that before.
And we know, I mean, saving faith. Right? I mean, Satan believes in Jesus. That doesn’t save him. The demons believe in Jesus, doesn’t save them. It’s trust in God. It’s following Jesus. It’s recognizing the power of his grace and his mercy in your life, and recognizing that you bring nothing to table. That everything that’s brought to the table for our salvation, Jesus brings. We don’t bring any of it. We have to show up. Faith is not a saving faith if you’re relying on the signs or if you’re relying on the people. You have to rely on Christ.
So, Jesus knows you. He shows you … He can show you signs, but it’s not the signs that save you. It’s not the people that save you. And Jesus himself knew this. In verse 24 and 25, people are believing in him, believing in his name. Okay, this guy must be who he says he is because he’s doing these signs. Right? And what could Jesus do? I mean, think about the triumphal entry that’s going to happen approximately three years later. Jesus comes into town, people are waving palm fronds, throwing their jackets down on the ground so that his donkey doesn’t have to walk on dirt. Right? Hailing him as a king. And Jesus could easily have said, “I’ve arrived. I’m here. I’m your new king.” And the people would have accepted that. That’s what they wanted. But, Jesus doesn’t trust, because he knew that as soon as he did that … It was the wrong thing to do, but even if he had done it, the Romans would have put him down.
And all of a sudden everybody would have been going, “Jesus who?” “Oh you mean that kid from Galilee? No, I wasn’t part of that group.” They would have just abandoned him. Jesus knows the heart of man. So, he doesn’t trust them in the way … He doesn’t trust them … He doesn’t put himself in their trust. Jesus puts himself really only in his father’s care. Only in father’s trust. He knew what was in a man. And here’s the thing, though, because he knows what’s in a man … This is where it can be devastating to us, because I know what’s in my heart. I know the greed, and the dishonesty, and the lust, and the general rottenness of my own heart. I really work hard at sort of walking around and trying to look way better than I am. But, I know what’s in my heart.
And Jesus knows me better than I know me. John Piper said, “There is one person who knows your heart perfectly. Knows it better than you do, Jesus Christ.” That’s scary. But, Jesus knows us, and he chooses to love us. Think about this in John 1:12, John says, “To all who did receive and who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.” In John 16:30, the disciples are sitting around with Jesus and they say, “You know all things.” And then Peter in John 21, you remember John, Peter, and Jesus are walking on the sea shore after Jesus’s resurrection. Peter has denied him. And Jesus says, “Peter do you love me?” And Peter does not say, “Yes, Lord I love you.” He doesn’t not say that. He says, “Lord, you know that I love you.” You see the difference?
It’s not like, “Hey Jesus just believe me. I love you.” No, no, no. Peter is saying, “You know that I love you.” “Peter do you love me?” “Lord, you know that I love you.” “Peter do you love me?” And at the end you can feel Peter is almost in despair. “Lord, you know that I love you.” Peter is not relying on his own powers of persuasion with Jesus. He is saying to Jesus, you already know my heart. “You know I love you.” So, here’s this guy that in the pen-ultimate moment of Jesus’ ministry, the first thing he does is pull out a sword and start hacking. Right? Jesus is like, “Dude, stop.” They go to the house, to Caiaphas’s house, Peter slips into the courtyard. And people are like, “Weren’t you one of those guys?” “Nope. Nope. Nope. Not me.” “No, seriously I think, you talk like him. You got the accent, that Galilee accent.” “No. That’s not me.” “No, seriously. I’m pretty sure.” “Listen,” he says an oath, “Listen, I swear I’m not with that dude. I’m not with him.” And then, “You know that I love you.”
See God looks into our hearts. He knows everything there is to know about us. He knows our wickedness. And he chooses to love us. And that’s really a big idea, that Jesus knows you and he chooses to love you. And that should be comforting to us. Right? That should be comforting to us. So, think about your own life. What are you ashamed of? What’s that thing in your life that maybe only you even know about? Or that happened a long time ago, and you’ve moved away from it, you’ve buried it, you never want to even think about it? What’s that thing in your life that’s going on right now, that secret sin that you have that nobody knows about? Jesus knows about it and he loves you anyway. And he offers forgiveness for those things. And when his father who is perfectly holy, and perfect just looks at you he doesn’t see that wickedness, that betrayal, that sin that’s in your life. He sees Jesus’s righteousness covering you like a robe.
And Jesus is that for you not because he sort of went, “Well, it’s not that bad. So, I guess I’ll take him.” No, no, no. It’s not like that at all. Knowing everything that he could know about you. Knowing how wicked and evil each one of us is, he chooses us anyway. Because he’s God, he can do whatever he wants. And what he wants to do is to save us. What he wants to do is forgive us. And so, he does that. It’s not about the signs and wonders, guys. It’s really about surrender and reliance. And so, I just want you to remember that Jesus knows you and he chooses to love you. Our job is to rely on him. Our job is to surrender to him.
So, let me pray for us. We’re going to take a couple minutes and take about 20 minutes for these questions at the table, and then a few minutes before the end, I’ll bring us back together. And I’d really love to hear from a few of the tables some of the answers to the questions that you came up with. So, be prepared maybe for a few guys to share, to benefit the whole group. And we’ll get together in 20 minutes.
Let me pray. Lord, thank you so much this passage. Thank you for your zeal for your father’s house, Lord. But, thank you, father for your zeal for our hearts, your zeal for your people that you choose in spite of everything about us, Lord, you choose us. So, Lord, help us to let go of those things that we have erected, the barriers that we’ve put between you and us. And instead, Lord, help us to surrender those things and rely on you completely. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.