Following Jesus • 41 / Belief and trust

Read This: John 2:23-25

So much hangs on belief. From substantive decisions to daily choices, what we believe shapes our seventy years — and the people following in our wake.

The question is, what shapes our belief? Ideally, it’s rooted in careful study, reliable testimony, or first-hand experience. Yet, we’re relational and emotional creatures. Many of our beliefs sprout from impressions, assumptions, or traditions.

The religious leaders who confronted Jesus in the temple believed in God, Scripture, and the coming Messiah. But they also seemed to harbor assumptions about their Messiah. It appears they didn’t believe he would be God. Despite the signs and Scriptures indicating Jesus was their Deliverer, they didn’t see it.

But others noticed. They too knew the prophetic Scriptures, and they were watching and listening carefully.

John’s use of the word sign points to the authority and validity of a messenger and his message. Extraordinary things were happening. Stories were circulating. Jesus’ powerful demonstration of authority in the temple matched the authority, character, and moral force attributed to the Messiah in Scripture. These people took note, observed the details, and weighed the evidence. Things lined up, and they were persuaded that Jesus was the Messiah.

It seems clear they believed in Jesus. The language John uses points to valid belief. But the passage also states that Jesus did not believe* in them. Why not?

The narrative tells us He knew what was in their hearts. He likely knew their ideas about the Messiah were not the same as His. And He knew that first impressions don’t grow into mature convictions overnight. Not everyone who picks up an instrument learns how to play. It wasn’t time. There was more to be done.

But it was a start. These people believed. Some of them may even have joined the large group of disciples who followed Jesus throughout His public ministry.

This is how we become disciples. We read, consider, believe, and follow. And in the following, we learn the ways of our Master.


* The Greek word for entrust is the same word as believe.