And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
John gives us, in the course of his Gospel, wonderful evidences and illustrations on this point. When people came to him, he seemed to see right into their hearts and through their present lives into all their past. Instances in Nathanael, Nicodemus, and the woman of Samaria. The power of Jesus in this respect as much supernatural as that by which he raised Lazarus from the dead.
I. IT IS JESUS WHO KNOWS WHAT IS IN MAN. His awful power of knowing the secrets of human hearts is his power. Hence we behold the exercise of it without being startled or alarmed. The woman at the well does not seem to have been at all terrified by her discovery of the omniscient, resistless eye of Jesus. We are made to feel that Jesus knows us altogether; but at the same time, we are assured as to the use he will make of his knowledge. He does not come to expose us to our fellow men. He does not come to protect us from them, although he will do so if it be needful. The injuries of others do not penetrate to the heart, do not burden the conscience, so Jesus does not trouble about them. What gives him concern is the evil we work to ourselves. What a scratch is to a deep stab, that the very worst thing another can do is as compared with what we ourselves do. We have cause to rejoice that it is Jesus who has a knowledge so complete, a knowledge so certain to be used for our best advantage. It is Jesus, the professed Saviour Jesus, who loves little children, Jesus who takes pity on hungry multitudes - he of the truest, tenderest heart that ever beat in a human bosom - it is he who knows what is in man.
II. JESUS KNOWS WHAT IS IN MAN. He never needs to act doubtfully and upon speculation. His knowledge is not in appearance, but in reality. It ranges over human nature in all the vast extent of it. He knows the real and the ideal, the actual and the possible; how bad men are, and how good they may become. His real knowledge is to be contrasted with our assumed knowledge. He knows us round and round and. through and through. It is not a knowledge of the weakness and follies of men just to make better use of them.
III. JESUS WANTS MAN HIMSELF TO KNOW WHAT IS IN MAN. First, that we may know ourselves, and that for the practical purpose of making the best of our lives. We need great knowledge to make the best of life, with its rich opportunities, its great difficulties, its strict limitations. Jesus wants us to have a living sense of our ignorance and our weakness. He wants us to discover how blind the natural man is when confronted with spiritual things. He wants us to be persuaded how low we can sink, how high we can rise. Then, as far as we know ourselves truly, we shall know others also. They are weak, even as we; and, if we become strong in Christ, we shall hope for the same strength for them.
IV. JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW WHAT IS IN HIM. Wants us to see human nature in its purity and its perfection. Knowing the perfection of Jesus rightly, we shall not despair, but aim to be drawn onward to it ourselves. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.