One of the most fascinating aspects of the Book of John is the author’s emphasis on the dual nature of Jesus as both man and God. Combatting the ideological debate of his day that Jesus had to be either human or Deity, but not both: John gives extensive evidence that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man while on earth. As such, his abilities surpassed anything any other man could do.
An evidence of such is Jesus’ ability to see into the hearts of men. John 2:24-25 explains, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” Jesus did not have to waste his time figuring out who was truly interested in him and the truth of his message and who was simply trying to see him do something amazing. John will further enlighten us over the next few chapters as to the level of Jesus’ knowledge as he examines the Lord’s interactions with the four corners of society.
Nicodemus: The Spiritual Elite. John 3:1-21 details Jesus’ evening discussion with a man by the name of Nicodemus. He is a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. He is one who is a member of the ruling class among the Jews and is in the know on the workings of the Sanhedrin (John 7:45-53). He is one who is truly interested in Jesus and his teaching, but he has a great deal to lose if he is shown to be a supporter of Jesus publicly. He comes to Jesus, not to trap him or trick him, but to better understand his doctrine. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about a number of deeper things, including prophesying his own death (Vs. 14) as he explains to him his work and purpose. Jesus knew the heart of Nicodemus and taught him plainly, even though he was considered among the spiritual elite in Israel.
The Woman at the Well: The Spiritual Deprived. In John 4:1-42 John delivers to us one of the most interesting interactions of Jesus’ ministry as he speaks to this woman at the well. She is a Samaritan and a woman: two strikes against her as far as the Jews were concerned. The Samaritans were considered little better than dogs because they were half-Jew and half-Gentile. Therefore the Jews wanted nothing to do with them and, unlike Jesus, would not even travel through their region much less speak to them. But Jesus knows this woman’s heart and speaks in a very calm and comforting way to her, showing who he is, what is coming, and what she needs to do. Because of Jesus’ willingness to teach this woman, he will be extended the opportunity to teach the entire city in which she lives, when she goes and proclaims his statements to them (Vs. 39-42). Jesus knew this woman had the right heart and would present an opportunity for him, not just with her, but the people around her as well.
The Nobleman: The Physically Elite. As we come to John 4:46-54, Jesus meets a nobleman whose son is sick in another city. The man has all of the wealth and prestige this world has to offer, but his son was still dying. He comes to Jesus hoping that Jesus will come and save his son’s life. From Jesus’ statement in verse 48, Jesus knows this man does not yet believe in who Jesus is, but that the evidence of his signs and wonders will sway him. He heals the man’s son while the nobleman is standing before him and sends him on his way. Upon returning home and finding his son well, the nobleman knows Jesus was the one responsible and he and his entire household believe (Vs. 53). Jesus knew both the situation of the son and the heart of the father. He helped the son knowing it would also help this nobleman believe the truth.
The Invalid Man: The Physically Deprived. John 5:1-9 shows Jesus interactions with the final corner of society: those who are physically in need. At the pool of Bethesda those with physical ailments would congregate hoping for healing. The man Jesus helps on this occasion had been inflicted with his condition for 38 years (Vs. 5). Jesus, knowing the man’s desire to be rid of his affliction, heals him by telling him to take up his bed and walk. He did not have to do a detailed interview with the man asking his medical history and specific condition. He saw the need, knew the man’s heart, and healed his condition.
Just as Jesus knew the hearts of those of his day while on this earth, Jesus knows the hearts of all men today. He sees through the statements of faith and proclamations of sincerity to the core of who we really are. What does Jesus see in us?