I have trouble understanding what John 2:24 and John 2:25 mean. Does anyone know what it means for Jesus to not "commit himself unto them"?

John 2:22-25 (KJV)
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a hermeneutics question.
    – Andrew
    Jun 27 '16 at 1:03

There is some fun linguistic gymnastics going on there and two things are being played off of each other.

First, remember that Jesus was fully God and he was omniscient* and knew the hearts of men. He knew what people were thinking even when they didn't say it.

Now note that while your question is in 24, the play here starts in verse 23. Let's look at these two verses again:

John 2:24-25 (ESV)
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.

When we believe in Christ and choose to follow Him, we entrust ourselves to him.

Even though our English translations usually use different wording for thse two verses, in the Greek original both "believed" in verse 23 and "commit" (KVJ) or "entrust" (ESV) in verse 24 are the same root word πιστεύω (pisteuō) that is widely translated as 'believe'.

In other words, Jesus knew that something was wrong in their hearts in spite of their profession of faith.

* Actually in his role as the Son there were things he chose not to know because there were rights that he voluntarily surrendered in order to fulfill his calling, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he knew mens hearts.

  • Heys thanks for the answer =D btw is there a bible reference which supports the claim stated in the asterisk ?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 7 '11 at 14:54
  • 1
    @Pacerier: Sure :) You can see one thing the Son did not know was WHEN his own return to earth was going to be. In Mark 13:32 Jesus is speaking and says himself that he doesn't know. "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (ESV)
    – Caleb
    Sep 7 '11 at 19:04

The important thing here is context. Lets look at the broader passage in a slightly more clear translation:

John 2:18-25 (NIV)

18 Some of his people said to Jesus, "Show us a miracle to prove you have the right to do these things."

19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will build it again in three days."

20 They answered, "It took forty-six years to build this Temple! Do you really believe you can build it again in three days?"

21 (But the temple Jesus meant was his own body.22 After Jesus was raised from the dead, his followers remembered that Jesus had said this. Then they believed the Scripture and the words Jesus had said.)

23 When Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, many people believed in him because they saw the miracles he did. 24 But Jesus did not believe in them because he knew them all. 25 He did not need anyone to tell him about people, because he knew what was in people's minds.

Jesus was asked to perform a miracle and told the folks there that they could destroy the temple and he would rebuild it in 3 days. John here, with the advantage of having seen the events that followed, gives us a parenthetical telling us the he meant his death and resurrection by this.

I think what the part of this passage you are questioning is saying is that these are the very people who will be calling for his death in just a few short years. He knows their hearts, and even if they appear to be listening and believing they will turn into an angry mob looking to crucify him.

Matthew Henry's commentary on the passage seems to support this:

Henry asserts that Christ, knowing that these were his enemies and the people who would later crucify him, did not trust them.

III. That yet Jesus did not commit himself unto them (v. 24): ouk episteuen heauton autois—He did not trust himself with them. It is the same word that is used for believing in him. So that to believe in Christ is to commit ourselves to him and to his guidance. Christ did not see cause to repose any confidence in these new converts at Jerusalem, where he had many enemies that sought to destroy him, either,

And later

IV. That the reason why he did not commit himself to them was because he knew them (v. 25), knew the wickedness of some and the weakness of others. The evangelist takes this occasion to assert Christ's omniscience.


The beauty of this is that relationship with Christ isn't based on our trustworthiness, devotion nor on our good intentions but completely in Christ's granting it to us by grace. It's not about me having to earn his trust. I could never be good enough for that. Nor was the apostle Paul (Romans 7:14-25, 1 Cor 4:4). It's all about Him granting me access to the Father's heart through what He did for me (2 Cor 5:19). That's what takes my breath away and ushers me into His embrace.

  • Welcome to SE Christianity Thank you for your post!
    – user4060
    Jun 26 '13 at 16:15

Could it be that those who believed in His miracles did not know that He is God? The bible says He had no need for anyone to bear witness of man. Could it be He had need for people to bear witness of who He really is? That He is God, That He is the Creator, That He is the Resurrection, That He is the Savior and Redeemer, That He is the Way, the Truth, The Life and that no one comes to the Father but through Him. The Bible says that God comes in 3 forms, or 3 persons. Christians call this the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We can't explain the Trinity completely. An equilateral triangle has three equal sides making one structure. The Trinity has 3 forms or persons each equal to the other with different functions, each one fully God, each one essential to the Godhead. There are some cults who do not believe that Jesus is God. There is one that believes that Jesus is a brother to Satan. There is one group who calls Mary the mother of God (she is not the Mother of God she is the mother of Jesus the man). Jesus existed in the Form of God from the beginning. Do you believe Jesus will commit Himself to anyone who does not know who He is and to anyone who will not receive Him as Lord and Savior?


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