But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. (John 2:24-25)
I have not been constant.
Looking back over the years, I’ve been a colour spectrum of paint-chip samples one might find at Home Hardware: first, mutating in tone, then intensity, then shifting in shade altogether. I recall the tastes and attitudes and opinions of my youth – Rick Springfield, black eyeliner, pink everything, religion is for the odd and weak – a cold, clammy embarassment washes over me. Then onto the navel-gazing, over-introspection of my young adulthood. To think that I might have saved the world twice over had I more altruistically used those seemingly eternal days of the twenty-somethings…Then the thirties – a blurr with my new-found salvation and trying to be a Christ-follower but not having the faintest idea how to do it, a new marriage and child-bearing. In the flurry of activity, my life hid with Christ suffered, resulting in making many mistakes in my Christian walk, causing hurts not only to myself but also to others, and to God. I have no doubt that I presented as one of those at the Passover Feast in whom Jesus did not entrust Himself (John 2:23).
Now, having walked with the Lord for nearly 20 years, I chance to say that I am no longer traveling through the kaleidoscope of life at break-neck speed. Although I continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, awakening to new and exciting revelations at a pace commensurate with the time I spend in His company, I believe I have come to a more stable place of character (not quite “cruise control”, but not the whiplash of my early, gear-shifting, engine -flooding attempts either!). Self-awareness is no longer a crapshoot of “how I feel” at a particular time and space; now, I have made a comfy home in the Word of God to which I might measure the soundness of my thoughts, attitudes and behaviours.
Now I also find myself in a place where I am forced to engage more with people in my evolving and broadening sphere of influence. I have found myself in situations where a kindness offered has been met with inexplicable cruelty or otherwise irrational responses. More and more, I find myself in fellowship with Jesus’ dilemma: how to love people while not fully entrusting them with my heart, my life. It is not an easy thing. Our tendency as human beings is to desire empathy and connection to our fellow sojourners.
But Jesus warns us not to put our lives in the hands of man. He did not entrust himself to them, and neither, I deduce, should I. Admittedly, this sounds cynical. Should I, then, go through life, not trusting a soul?
The NIV Bible says, “…Jesus would not entrust himself to them…” The NKJV Bible uses the word, “commit”, but when I looked up the dictionary definition of this word, “to entrust” is used in the definition of that word, therefore I will base my understanding on the use of “entrust”. I do not position myself as a scholar in etymology, but I believe that the words “trust” and “entrust” carry two very distinct connotations. In the dictionary, “trust” is defined as “to place confidence in; to rely on, to confide or repose faith in.” The word, “entrust” is defined as “to trust to the care of”. The word, “trust”, connotes, to me, a certain active will to place confidence in a person by sheer hope and faith. On the other hand, the prefix “en” is taken from the Greek, “within” or “in”. The word, “entrust”, connotes an abandon of sorts, a relinquishing of personal control, to put one’s well-being entirely into the care of another.
Jesus trusts me. He has chosen, by His perfect will, to put His confidence and faith in me, to hope for and to believe in the very best that (He knows) that I can be. But He is no fool. He knows that, by nature, I am weak. And when He was walking the earth in human form, He also knew that even His beloved disciples were not worthy to entrust Himself to. And on the night that He was betrayed, we see that he was spot-on in his assessment (Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:2-11).
Similarly, although I must believe the very best in people, hope in them, trust them and put my confidence in them as being made in God’s image, I must not entrust myself to them. The world is a fickle place, and so are the people in it. Our emotions, changing circumstances, our pains and hurts, our pride, can affect the way we react and interact with the world. I have seen it, time and again. People becoming embittered, cold and angry, even suicidal or violent, when the world does not stack up to what pretty pop songs and happy Hallmark one-liners have extolled it to be.
It is a hard truth to accept. But to deny it would leave us naked in a blistering icestorm.
But we can take heart. God is our Rock and our Saviour. The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me…Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever more (Hebrews 13:6, 8).
May I trust man, and hope in him with all my heart, as Christ does towards me, and by doing so, may I pray for my fellow human being with the kind of compassion that only a Perfect God can inspire in me.
But may I only entrust myself to, abandon myself to, the One who loved me before the beginning of time.
I pray that as as the years pass and I come nearer to His throne in heaven, He will find me increasingly entrustworthy.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities…
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting…Bless the Lord, O my soul!
(Psalm 103: 1-3, 14-17)