Remember that the aim of John’s Gospel is that people might believe in Jesus. John 20:31: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” This has been underlined several times in chapters 1 and 2.
In John 1:12, John says, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” After the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana, John says, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11). Then after he drove the moneychangers out of the Temple and said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” John comments, “His disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken” (John 2:22).
So John is on task. He is writing with a view to helping people see the glory of the Son of God, experience his grace, and believe on him as the Son of God and supreme treasure of their lives and have eternal life.
In view of this, John 2:23–25 has an unsettling effect. What it says, in essence, is that Jesus knows what is in every heart, and so he can see when someone believes in a way that is not really believing. In other words, Jesus’ ability to know every heart perfectly leads to the unsettling truth that some belief is not the kind of belief that obtains fellowship with Jesus and eternal life. Some belief is not saving belief.
There is a belief which acts as a cloak for saving faith. But the object of affection is not the truth. It is not Jesus. The object of the affection is self exaltation, or money, or friends, or status. It uses religious faith as a means to get these things.
For those who use Christianity this way, Jesus is furious. To use His name, His house or His reputation to further your own greed, lust or glory is to invite the whip down upon your back.
Lessons for Little Saints
What was the feast Jesus was going to Jerusalem for?
What was the feast a reminder of?
Why was Jesus so angry at the money changers and sellers?
Why didnt the people stop Jesus from ruining their business?