Not For Sale
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HE KNOWS ALL PEOPLE
"Now while He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs He was performing and believed in His name. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person." John 2:23-25 (NIV).
One would think that Jesus would have been delighted with the success of His ministry. This was exactly what He wanted, wasn't it?
But John makes a tongue-in-cheek comment about their response to Him. They trusted Him, but He didn't trust them! Now there's a problem! Jesus didn't not respond to their faith as they expected. Is John saying that there was no work of God's grace in them? That is drastic! Why not?
Firstly, they had not yet seen and heard enough of Jesus to make that commitment. Like the disciples, the Jews had an expectation of the Messiah that was not in keeping with His real identity and mission. They were expecting Him to get rid of their enemy, the Romans. He came to get rid of their real enemy, the devil, and to deal with sin and alienation from God, their Father and restore fellowship with Him.
Secondly, they were guilty of the most heinous of sins against God -- self-seeking self-interest. Is that why John said that Jesus knew what was in man's heart?
Of course Jesus knew! From the beginning of human history, when Adam chose to listen to the devil and defy God, man's nature has been polluted with selfishness. He lost his God-awareness and became self-aware. He became the centre of his world, and everyone and everything else was to serve him, so he thought. He does everything to suit his own ends -- hence war, greed, crime, divorce, promiscuity and every other evil you can think of.
The book of Job addresses this absolutely fundamental issue with regard to our relationship with God. Satan challenged the motive for Job's righteousness. He accused him of being in it for what he could get out of it. 'Take it all away and he'll curse you,' he sneered. 'Okay,' said God, 'you can strip him of everything, but don't touch his body.'
Satan let rip and in one day Job was stripped of all his possessions and even his family, yet his response was, "I was born naked and I'll die naked. God gave and God has taken away. I still praise you, God!"
God said to Satan, 'See, I told you Job is a righteous man.' But Satan was not satisfied. 'Just touch his body and see what happens,' he challenged. 'Go ahead,' said God, 'but don't take his life.' This time the devil did the worst he could think of without killing him.
Because of his terrible disease and the stench and disfigurement he suffered, Job put himself on the ash heap where he thought he belonged. From being a man of standing and influence in his community he had become trash. Because he was not given access to the behind-the-scenes exchange between God and Satan, he had no idea why God was treating him like this.
His so-called friends had the logical answer, 'You must have sinned.' Job denied doing wrong and turned to God for answers. God remained silent until Job had exhausted all his arguments, accusations and the defence of his integrity. When he had nothing more to say, God spoke. And did He speak! He gave Job the tongue-lashing of his life for daring to question Him.
But at the same time, God was pleased with Job. Why? Because, in spite of his suffering, he refused to give up on Him. '"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him.’” Job 13; 15 (NIV). That's all He needed to hear to confirm that Job's faith was not in what God could do for him but in God Himself even if the worst happened.
In an environment of "prosperity" teaching, the "name-it-and-claim-it" movement and, even worse, "if things go wrong, you have sinned" philosophy, how many true believers are there in the church, to whom Jesus has entrusted Himself in response to their truly trusting Him even if He slay them? What a terrible insult to God that so many of His people are in it for gain, not for worship.
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