“You can’t wake someone up who’s pretending to be asleep.”
This truism really makes you think, right? If people refuse to see the truth, then it’s really difficult to discuss the truth with them. After all, they refuse to see. They close their eyes because they simply don’t want to open them. They are refusing to “wake up” because they’d rather be “asleep”.
Jesus dealt with this problem in people, too. After Jesus cleared the market out of the Temple complex (John 2:12-17), the crowd gathered around Him. We see what happens next in John 2:18-25.
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 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 2:18-25
New International Version
Their question gave Jesus an opportunity to address their spiritual blindness. They wondered by what right Jesus had the right to do this. What “sign” can He provide?
His answer seemed so bizarre. “Tear this temple down”, Jesus said, “and I will rebuild it in three days.”
But the Jewish leaders didn’t get it yet. I can’t say I blame them. They were standing in the courts of the Temple. Surrounded by this edifice of the greatest of the Jewish faith, Jesus said, “If you tear this temple down, I’ll rebuild it in three days.”
Can you blame them for not understanding Jesus’ answer?
Jesus wasn’t talking about the building; He was talking about His body. He was prophesying about the events of the crucifixion and resurrection.
The religious people of Jesus’ day were so “asleep” by their own expectations for the Messiah and blinded by their rage, they refused to accept any other possibilities. They could not see because they refused to see.
Verses 24 and 25 are cryptic verses in the Fourth Gospel (We’re going to see several of those in our study!). It reads,“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.”
He knew they were marveling at the wrong thing. They were amazed at the brazenness, but not the actual authority of the Son of God. The crowds were drawn to Jesus, but the lure of the crowd was no temptation for the Son of God.
“He didn’t need any testimony about mankind…” He knew completely what was going on in the minds of the people. We respond to Jesus because we are called, not because we are impressed.
These people exercised a kind of faith because they saw something miraculous. This is shaky ground. It’s not that it can’t work; it’s just that history reveals it usually doesn’t work. Jesus knew the crowds who were falling in love with Him loved the idea of the Messiah.
They really didn’t love Him; they loved the signs. They loved their idea about what the Messiah could be.
In so many ways, they were still asleep. They didn’t want to see the Messiah in front of them; they wanted to see the Messiah they wanted.
And you know what they say: “You can’t wake someone up who’s pretending to be asleep.”
What about you? Do you see Jesus for Who He is or for Who you want Him to be?