...All Others Pay Cash

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“In God we trust; all others pay cash” is a tongue-in-cheek slogan taken from the inscription on American coinage. It testifies to our innate mistrust of everyone, though it could be argued that most people don’t even trust God all that much.

After the confrontation in the temple (John 2:13-16), Jesus stayed in Jerusalem for the Passover. While He was there the text tells us that He did many miracles (2:23) and people believed. That sounds wonderful. When that happens in our churches we get all excited and try to modestly boast about how the Lord is moving among us.

Oddly enough, Jesus didn’t make a big deal about the growing “body count” of these “converts.” The text says: “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (2:24, 25).

The King James version uses the word “commit” rather than “entrust.” The word means, among other things:  to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in. In other words, Jesus didn’t trust their confession of faith.

How hard that must have been. Here He is, the Creator of the universe, the Almighty God who gave up the rights and privileges that came with that to put on skin, the One who would utterly and completely save anyone who truly believed. And He knew that many of them only came for the show, for the free handouts, for something to do on a boring evening. When the show was over, when it cost something to follow Him, when everything had to be sacrificed for the work of the Kingdom, they would be gone like dust in the wind.

He knew. I think it hurt deeply.

We might be tempted to brand someone who doesn’t trust others as a cynic. It’s easy to be cynical in a world where trust is so easily and often abused. It would be easy to walk away because the pain that a breach of trust causes can become overwhelming.

But Jesus, who knew men’s hearts even before they failed in their commitment, never walked away. In fact, He walked resolutely to the cross in save people who couldn’t be trusted.

Me. You. The world.

I know how much I hurt when my trust has been taken and trampled on. I can’t imagine what Jesus felt knowing that they couldn’t be trusted no matter what they said or did to flatter Him, to talk about how wonderful He was, to invite others to come and see the show.

How did Jesus handle it? Well, if we go back to the adage we looked at in the beginning, we can see at least a partial answer to that question. Jesus trusted God, His Father. The perfection of that trust made it possible for Him to continue to invest Himself in those who couldn’t be trusted but who needed Him desperately for much more than a show and a free handout.

The Bible is full of verses on trust. It even warns us not to trust ourselves!  (Proverbs 3:5, 6). One of the most wonderful passages is this one from Psalm 37:3-7a: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him...

Jesus knew that would be His experience. It can be ours too, as we learn where to put our trust.


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