Friday, January 31, 2014

2/1/14- Samaritans Believe John 4:39-42

39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.
42They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42)

Thoughts: There was a revival among the Samaritans!  This was not expected.  They had put up all walls against the Jews and the Jews had put up large barriers against the Samaritans.  Many Jews would avoid travelling through Samaria even if it meant going out of their way.  But Jesus cared about their souls- they were creatures of God too.  He not only visited but he stayed there to minister to them. He had an audience because of the woman at the well.  They described Jesus not only as the king of the Jews but "The Savior of the world."
    Christians do not need to put up walls against anyone.  Our Lord set the example of reaching those who others thought were unreachable.  This also shows that Jesus was not limiting himself to the Jewish religion but other religions and offshoots as well.  The Samaritans were to the Jews as the Jehovah Witnesses are to Christians today.  In some ways we are united in others we are separated.  But Jesus cares that all people know Him as Messiagh.  

Prayer: Give me a heart for those around me who are left out or alienated from you, O Lord.  Let my heart be as your heart. 

(Duccio Sienna) 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1/31/14- The Food of Doing God's Will Jn. 4:27-34

27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

Thoughts: Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again, and he wondered how an adult could enter the womb;  Jesus told the woman that he had living water, and she wondered about H2O.  Jesus tells his disciples he has food to eat, and they are wondering where he got his groceries.  Jesus is trying to get people to focus on the spiritual and whoever he spoke to focused on the physical.
     Jesus was saying He gets His energy from doing God's will.  He was energized to reach out to this Samaritan woman with love and have her respond.  Our goal should be to also be energized in doing the Lord's will.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to will your will and to be energized by fulfilling your calling for me this day. 

(Caracci- Disciples come back to Jesus and woman at the well) 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1/30/14- Jesus Claims to be Messiah

25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” (John 4:25,26)

Thoughts: This is the first time Jesus openly, without hint or poetry claimed to be the Messiah.  He made this claim not to a king, or a priest, but to a Samaritan woman outcast.  She was trying to understand and wondered about Jesus' authority to explain all this.  Jesus needed to speak plainly or lose her ear to listen to him.  It is an amazing claim.  He was claiming to be the One that both the Jews and Samaritans had been waiting on for thousands of years- the Anointed One.  He claimed to be the one who could explain, who could give definitive answers.  Earlier in John Jesus claimed to be the One from heaven who could explain heavenly things.  Even today, when we listen to Jesus' teachings life makes sense.  

Prayer: Lord, give me ears to hear you speaking to my heart.  Help me to trust the answers you give, and to follow in your way.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1/29/14- Spirit and Truth

20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:20-24)

Thoughts: One of Jesus' main and most remembered prophesies was that the Temple would be destroyed (cf. Jn. 2:19; Mt. 24:2).  This is another reference- Jerusalem will lose its importance when it is destroyed within a generation of Jesus saying this (70 A.D.).  In some ways because the Temple was destroyed, the worship to all non-Jews (including this Samaritan woman) would be opened.  As usual, Jesus is concerned less about the exteriors of religion but the heart.  What counts is not where we worship but that our hearts are worshiping God in spirit and in truth. That doesn't mean that we should not have places of worship.  It certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't worship together.  But the idea of one, holy place of worship was going away.  Jesus cared for the soul of this woman, and He wants us to care for her and those like her.  He wants all to come to Him.  He wants us to worship God from our soul- our spirit.  He wants us to worship God not just with our lips, or for show, but in truth.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to worship you in Spirit and in truth.  

(Mt. Gerazim- the Samaritan Mountain)

Monday, January 27, 2014

1/28/14- Christ's Conversation with a Woman in Need John 4:15-20

15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”  (John 4:15-20)

Thoughts: The woman was tired.  It was obvious.  "Give me this water so I won't have to keep on coming here."  She was tired of drawing water.  She was tired of her life.  Jesus knew the root of her tiredness was not walking to the well each day, but her inner weariness.
    I am reminded of how many tired people there are in our society.  So many are tired of working, and others are afraid to get on the treadmill - scared to try.  Many in our world are anxious and depressed from either working too hard or being afraid of measuring up.  Jesus is saying to the woman and to us, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest to your souls." 
The woman was not only tired, she was uncomfortable and did not want to talk about the heart of the matter.  She kept changing the subject.  First- you are Jewish and I am Samaritan (we are different culturally); Second- "Are you greater than our father Jacob?" (we are different in following leaders);  Third- we worship here and you worship there (we are different in our religion).
     Jesus kept bringing her back to the heart of the matter: 1) What will satisfy; 2) Her relationship with her significant other; 3) Her relationship to God.
       This is an example of evangelism, psychology, and sharing love.  It began with asking a favor that he probably could have answered himself.  

Prayer: Help me to thirst for you and find my refreshment in you.  Help me to give myself to you who knows my deepest need and hope.  

(Peter de Grebber 1635)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

1/27/14- Jacob and Jesus

11“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

Thoughts: The woman was thinking of the physical and temporary.  This is what we tend to think of even in the face of the Son of God Himself.  But there is an eternal reality that for which we long and thirst.  Jesus may have been thinking of Numbers 21 where the Israelites sang a song "Spring up O well."  God provides water in the desert- hope in the hopelessness of life.
      She asked if Jesus was greater than their father Jacob.  Jesus answered comparing his spiritual water to Joseph's physical water.  Which is greater, water in the desert that brings temporary life, or water that gives eternal life?   Jacob wrestled with God, but God overcame and changed his name to Israel- Prince of God.  God bestowed the name Prince to him.  Jesus is making the claim.  Then he backs up that claim. 

Prayer: Lord, you are the Living Water.  May I commit myself fully to you.  

(Jacob wrestling with the angel of God- Rembrandt)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

1/26/14- Give Me a Drink John 4:7-10

7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." 

Thoughts: Jesus was asking a woman he was not supposed to associate with for a drink.  She was a Samaritan and He was a Jew.  She was a woman of low morals and He was someone of high morals.  In those days men did not speak to women without a chaperon.  It was a shocking thing.  But, in so many ways, Jesus was breaking down barriers.  Jesus showed He cared for all people- those of different nations, different races, different genders.  But He also showed He would not let artificial protocol keep Him from reaching out to a lost soul.  Ironically, He reached her by first asking for her help.  He was the helper who was asking for help.  
Jesus basically told her- you can give me physical water, but I can give you living water.  He was confident in who He was.  He believed He could help this lady who was lost spiritually and socially.
    This harks back a little bit to Isaiah 55: "Let everyone who thirsts come to the waters.  You who have no money come buy and eat- the bread that will satisfy."  Jesus was the Bread of LIfe, the Living Water.  He fills our souls with hope and meaning that brings peace and fulfillment. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to find my rest, my fulfillment in you. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

1/25/14- Jesus Wept John 11:35

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live even though they die."...Jesus wept.
(John 11:25, 35)

Thoughts: Jesus was a friend to Lazarus.  Lazarus got sick, and they sent for Jesus to heal him, but Jesus was delayed and did not make it before Lazarus died.  Everyone was weeping around the tomb.  It looked like it was just too late- the tomb was sealed, and it appeared that death had won.  Everyone was crying because Lazarus was a good man and they would miss him.  Jesus himself wept.  In fact, the shortest and one of the most important verses of the Bible is "Jesus wept."  It shows that God has compassion on our hurts and grief even if He knows the person will be raised and better off.  God is able to understand the hurt of grief and put Himself in our moment of pain.  When our heartaches come, and griefs threaten to overwhelm us, we need to remember that Jesus wept.  But the end is that for those who believe, Jesus also is their resurrection.  He raised Lazarus from the dead- to show us that He is in control of life and death cannot thwart His purpose.
    Today we will have a funeral for a young 23 year old man who was a kind and humorous fellow.  Jesus weeps at the heartache of death again.  But Jesus is also our hope.

Prayer: Help me to remember your tears when I am in the midst of mine, Lord.  Help me also to remember the joy at the end- that you are the resurrection and the life.

(the author in Lazarus' tomb- 6/2010)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

1/24/14 Jesus at the well John 4:16

1Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

Thoughts: Jesus did not long to be persecuted.  There are some who say he wanted to be crucified.  But this passage indicates he was trying to avoid persecution leaving Judea where the Pharisees (who opposed him) had strength.  Jesus took the shortcut through Samaria.  We do not know why.  Many Jews avoided Samaria. Jesus did not seek to go around Samaria in fear of being tarnished or in an effort to fuel prejudice against the Samaritans.  Jesus came to Jacob's well.  This was a place Jacob bought when he came back to the land and celebrated after crossing into the promised land.
Jesus showed his humanity here.  He was tired and he was thirsty.  If Jesus was just a phantom, or a spirit, he would not be tired or thirsty.  Jesus was human and knows our weaknesses. Because Jesus understands, we can pray to Him with confidence. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you understand my weakness.  Look upon me with mercy and favor.  
(Traditional site of well at Sychar)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1/23/14- The Importance of Belief

31The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for Godi gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Thoughts: The Greek is hard to translate smoothly here, but the message is very important. It says something important about Jesus.  Jesus is the One who comes from heaven.  His teaching is therefore more important than someone who merely is from earth and has not seen the truth from heaven's perspective.  It is almost like he is asking the question, "Would you rather believe someone from heaven or from earth?"  The other things this says about Jesus is that He has the Holy Spirit fully (without limit) in Him and that He is the Son of God who is loved and been given authority.
    This also says something about what our responsibility to this truth is.  We are to 1) accept what Jesus says, and 2) certify (literally "seal") it as truthful, and 3) Tell it to others.  We do not need to keep this important truth to ourselves.  Verse 36 reminds us how important this decision is.  We downplay this decision as if believing in Jesus is only a way to improve our lives.  But it is a a matter of whether we will see life or not according to this verse and many others (look even in this chapter at 3:16-18).  The wrath of God remains on us until we believe and then it is taken away.  Just as a sacrifice takes away guilt and wrath- so Jesus' sacrifice takes away guilt and wrath.  Wrath is something we would just rather drop.  We would like to blind ourselves to this important concept perhaps because we would like God to not care what we do- especially when we do wrong.  But part of being a God of love is to care that we not ignore our Creator or live contrary to our design or His love.  We take our decision for or against Christ too lightly, and we ignore the wrath of God to our own detriment.  

Prayer: Lord, give me ears to hear and a heart to respond to your testimony found in the person of Jesus Christ. 

(Lightning and 100 foot statue of Jesus over Rio de Janeiro January 16.  The town below went black and flooded)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1/22/14- He Must Increase, I Must Decrease

22After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24(This was before John was put in prison.) 25An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.”

Thoughts: John and Jesus were close by.  Some of John's disciples were trying to get him to be envious of Jesus.  Religious or church envy can be a deadly thing to the soul.  When churches are envious of other churches- or try to steal each others' members- the Lord is not glorified, and in the end the Church is not better off either.  This was a time when Jesus' church was growing faster than John the Baptist's church.  But it is important to remember that John was not in a building, or wearing fine clothes and having the finest things of life.  He was in the wilderness with a camel's hair coat eating locusts and honey (Mark 1:6).  John was embodying humility.  Pride and envy would have killed his humility and extinguished the very heart of his ministry.  It is hard if not impossible to encourage people to humble themselves in repentance and washing away of sin if one is living a life of pride and boastfulness. John's washing was not simply ceremonial washing (as one disciple brought out), but a baptism symbolizing washing and commitment.  John was not just giving people a bath, or giving out symbolic washing before a meal or a special event.  Baptism was a symbol of a change of heart.
    John's great words are not simply words for the Baptist alone.  They are practical words for every follower of Christ: "He must increase and I must decrease."  We do not have faith or life in order to have our own reputation honored.  We are here to glorify and enjoy God.  Despite being urged to blow his own horn, John showed amazing integrity, humility and godliness.  We could all learn from him. 

Prayer: Lord, may your glory increase, and may my glory decrease.  Take what talents, abilities, and gifts I have and honor yourself with them.   

(Nicolas Poussin 1635 John baptizing)

Monday, January 20, 2014

1/21/14- Loving Darkness more than Light

19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Thoughts: Jesus describes Himself as the "light of the world" (John 8:12).  We still talk about people who have "seen the light" or have been "enlightened."  What this passage points out is that many refuse to come to the light of Christ because they did not want their evil deeds being exposed next to His wonderful life.  Wrong thinking and wrong behavior can be addicting- to the point where we justify its wrongness.  When we are addicted to evil or wrong then we do not want to be exposed tot he light anymore than a fish who has grown up blind in a cave wishes to come into the light.  Our eyes are designed to see light, and light brings beauty, color, the truth and hope.  But if we are not used to the light the nerves of our eyes become dysfunctional from lack of use. 

 Lightning hitting the statue of Christ over Rio De Janeiro

Sunday, January 19, 2014

1/20/14- The Cure Given in Love John 3:14-18

14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,f 15that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  (John 3:14-18)

Thoughts:  God provided a way for healing of death by poisonous snakes by the lifting up of the bronze snake (Nbrs. 21).  So Christ is lift up on the cross that all who might look to him would be healed of their sin and forgiven.
    The reason God provided the bronze snake in the wilderness was out of mercy and love and the reason God provided Jesus was out of mercy and love.  The Israelites did not deserve healing, and neither do we.  But just as the bronze serpent's healing qualities did no good to those who refused to look to it, so the cross does not force forgiveness on people.  Yet whosoever will- whoever believes can be healed.
     But it is not a bronze serpent on a pole that heals us of sin, but the only begotten Son of God who is there.  The Greek word "monogene" is not simply "one and only."  The King James made a word to correspond to the Greek original.  "Mono" means "single" or "only."  But "Gene" has to do with generating.  He was not "born" but "begotten."  He was not created or made but eternally generated from the Father. 

      Those who do not believe stand condemned already (vs. 18).  We need to remember the context again- of the bronze serpent.  Those who are bitten by the poisonous snakes are condemned already.  All of us have been bitten by the snake of sin.  None of us have escaped this poison and can claim to be perfect.  We all have been poisoned and we need the antidote.  God has the antidote but we must come to Him in order to get it.  We must believe that we need to be cured and that God has the cure.  The cure is given at great personal price to God.  But the cure is real and effective. The call is to believe. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be cured.  Help me to believe in your love and cure. 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

1/19/14- Jesus the Cure

9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.e 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,f 15that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:9-15)

Thoughts: Jesus was saying we must be transformed to go to heaven, but Nicodemus was still thinking of earthly things.  Even when Jesus spoke of the Spirit as uncontrollable as the wind, Nicodemus still did not get it.
      Jesus talks about his message, the message of salvation. Jesus indicated that he had come from heaven and he would be going back to heaven.  "Just as Moses lifted up the snake" is a reference to Numbers 21.  The people had sinned and were being bitten by poisonous snakes.  God provided a bronze snake that, when looked upon, could cure those bitten.  Jesus would be "lifted up" on the cross and cure us of sin.  All we have to do is to look to Him in belief.  

Prayer: Lord, help us to look to you, believing in you.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

1/18/14- the Spirit Birth

5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritb gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘Youc must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?  (John 3:5-10)

Thoughts: Jesus broaches the subject of the Spirit here.  without the Spirit we cannot enter the kingdom of God.  The Spirit gives birth to spirit- in other words the Holy Spirit gives us a spirit of life.  The Holy Spirit regenerates, awakens in us a spirit of life.  The birth Jesus is talking about is not a physical one of re-entering the mother's womb (as Nicodemus asked), but a spiritual rebirth- a transformation of our soul.  Rebirth of the Spirit is not concrete, it is mysterious and uncontrollable.  So Jesus compared it to the wind.  The word "wind" and "Spirit" are the same word ("pnuema" in Greek- like pneumonia).  We can predict the physics of things, but we cannot predict the wind so well.  People who are transformed add surprise and mystery to life.  Our hopes are to depend on the Holy Spirit, opening our hearts to Him.  

Prayer: Holy Spirit move me and use me- shape me and take me after your will. 

(Nicodemus-Cijn Hendricks 1616-1645)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

1/17/14- Born again John 3:1-4

1Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ”
4“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Thoughts: Nicodemus was a religious leader who was open to religious truth.  No doubt Nicodemus had much training and was much connected among the religious elite as a member of the Sanhedrin.  As such, Nicodemus had every reason to keep the status quo.  Perhaps Nicodemus thought that we may grow in our faith as we grow in our knowledge and keeping of the Law.  But Jesus had a different idea- a transformation that is as radical as going from the warm safe womb to the cold unfamiliar air.
     Nicodemus began his conversation at night.  Perhaps he was nervous about coming to Christ when people would see him.  Later Nicodemus would boldly claim the dead body of Christ, though it meant some political pain.  Nicodemus began the conversation with a compliment and an openness to listening.
       But Jesus abruptly changed the tone.  He was not about to play games here.  It was important for Jesus that Nicodemus know that belief in Him was not full of compliments, but it meant a change- a transformation, being born-again.  True belief in Christ affects all that we are- belief, behavior, speech, and even thought.  It is like becoming a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).
       Nicodemus, like most legalistic minds, took this saying too literally to understand its truth.  Jesus was not talking about physical birth- but spiritual birth. 

Prayer: Lord, change me.  Make me new.  Let me believe that you are able to change me for better.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1/16/14- Destroy This Temple John 2

18The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
23Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.d 24But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

Thoughts: Authority is backed up by power.  How could Jesus cleanse the Temple, when the Temple authorities had approved the exchanging of money and animals in the Temple,  Jesus was saying He would cleanse the Temple ultimately by destroying it and rebuilding it.  The Temple was destroyed within a generation of Jesus' death- in 70 AD.  This destruction was one of Jesus' great prophesies that even non-Christians recognized that he made.  In part, this prophecy was the reason for the crucifixion (Mt. 27:40).
     The Temple was the physical representation of the presence of God.  Jesus was also, Christians believe, the physical representative of God on earth.  So in this sense, verses 21 and 22 are a true interpretation of His words.  There are many who feel if the Temple were to ever be rebuilt, the Lord of the Temple will come again.
       This passage ends with Jesus not trusting the vote or popularity of the people.  People would believe in Him for a moment and then betray Him as they did between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.  The crowds showed they were fickle- one day proclaiming Him King and the next shouting for His crucifixion.  Jesus did not need the popular acclaim of people for He is God.  He knew how one minute people express devotion to God and the next the people would turn away.  He knew how fickle our hearts are.  He remained true to Himself and true to the Father. 

Prayer: Lord, my heart is fickle, but draw me to yourself.  Help me to listen and submit to your authority.