I know it’s hard to hear—but Jesus doesn’t trust you—or me. Or anyone. We shouldn’t feel bad. If we stop and think about it, scripturally, why should He trust us? He knew what was in man: “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” (John 2:23–25). 1

He knows what’s in us. We proclaim our love and are very sincere when we do so. We sing songs about trusting Him, but He knows we fail at keeping our promises of fidelity. He had a long history with His adulterous people, which gave Him cause to say, “What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away” (Hosea 6:4).

I was reading in the sixth chapter of John the other day, a passage I’ve probably read a hundred times or more. What follows should not surprise long-time readers of Scripture. I was taken aback. Hijacked. Shocked, again, by a truth—a well-known truth—that left me, as usually happens with us in such cases, shaking my head in wonder.

A little background.

Jesus had just spoken some mind-bending truths that caused many of His followers to leave Him. He said, to paraphrase, “Unless you drink My blood and eat My flesh, you have no life, and no eternal life (John 6:53–59). A few verses later, Jesus said that His words were spirit and life (verse 63), which indicates that He was talking about a spiritual eating of His flesh and drinking His blood, not a literal one. However, no one comprehended that. We wouldn’t have understood it either.

Thus, it should be no surprise that after He said this, many of His followers “no longer walked with him” (verse 66).

Would you have left? Jesus had just proclaimed something that was extraordinarily difficult for anyone to hear. Really? I must eat your flesh and drink your blood if I want to have life, and if I don’t, I don’t have any life?

What? I’m supposed to turn into to a cannibal?

Jesus then asked The Twelve if they were going to “go away as well” (verse 67).

It was here that I paused, and I think it was a Holy-Spirit-inspired pause. I thought, “Where would my heart have been if a bunch of people left the group I was pastoring and afterwards someone approached and declared his/her loyalty to stick with me?

I would have said, “Thank you. Thank you so much. We’ll get through this together. Thanks for your loyalty. I appreciate it so much.”

But Jesus didn’t do that.

Not at all.

Jesus’ question to His disciples had no yearning for acceptance behind it whatsoever.

Jesus doesn’t whimper.

Only Peter is recorded to have responded. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68–69).

Sounds good. Sounds strong. Sounds loyal.

But look at how Jesus replied to Peter’s strong oath of allegiance. “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil” (John 6:70–71).

Here is what I think was behind Jesus’ response. “I understand your zeal, Peter, but your oath of loyalty will soon be shown as shallow. I know what you will do tomorrow morning. Do not think I need your words of devotion. I know what is in man, how untrustworthy his oaths are. You are proclaiming your fidelity to Me, but let me make this clear: You didn’t choose me—I chose you. And I chose you knowing that one of you is a devil. So, who do you think is in charge here? Who do you think has this all mapped out?”

Jesus wasn’t in the least bit threatened or taken aback by the departure of many of His followers. It wasn’t long before He stood up in Jerusalem on the last day of the Passover feast and made this astonishing announcement: “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37–38).

Does that sound like a man who is carefully tippy toeing his way long, hoping he’ll lose no more admirers? Who talks like this?

Only our sovereign God.

Think with me for a moment.

Imagine that you had a group of disciples—maybe you do. You say something about God your relationship with God, and because of it many people leave the group. You ask those who remain if they’re going to leave as well. Someone comes up to you and says, “I’m with you all the way! I’m not going anywhere! You’re the man/woman!”

How would you react?

From my response, I realized in an instant two things:

One: I am a man pleaser. Having a group of followers fulfills me. Friends. People I will try hard not to offend. It makes me feel like I have significance.

Two: Jesus is quite unlike me. Big revelation, huh? He didn’t trust people because He knew what was in them. He didn’t mince His words or even make them palatable so they would stay and be loyal friends. Again, why should He? Everyone reading this article has betrayed Him in some way during their lives. Despite our lack of loyalty, He cannot be deterred from His goals—with or without our commitment. He doesn’t need our approval or reliability to reach those goals. He was and is a Rock. He can’t be shaken. He can’t be intimidated.

We are not told in Scripture to trust people but are instructed all throughout that we are to trust God alone.

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry” (Psalm 146:3–7).

Trust goes beyond depending upon someone to fix your car. After all, Jesus trusted His disciples to go set up the room for the Passover feast and do other minor tasks. Christian trust has to do with ultimate confidence and faith in the One who will never fail us. Who will never betray us. Never break a promise. Never take advantage of us for His own gain, who will always love us.

We must not trust in people to fulfill us. We must not trust in people to bring us joy. We must not trust people in the Church to achieve eternal things. God will move His plan along with us or without us, with or without our loyalty. God alone can do this. He is a Rock who will not and cannot be moved.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.