v 23. Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him.
This is the moment when Jesus ‘Goes Public’ and we see the beginning of a new strand appearing in the story. It is a fresh theme that must have surprised the first readers of John’s book because it introduces the theme that love may have to confront the un-loveliness of human life. The Temple merchants were out to make a quick buck – trading had taken the place of worship. There was confrontation with the traders themselves (v 16) and then with Jewish authorities (v 18) who were not opposed to their business.
At this point we could blow hot over the misuse of the Temple, and the way profit was put before God-centred worship. But let’s reflect on the big theme of love again – and consider how love, deeply felt and acted on, may give rise to confrontation.
The love of Jesus was a tough love; He wanted to put things right and was willing to publicly confront what was wrong in society. Love is not just accepting things as they are, and perhaps praying that there will be a change for the better at some point in time. Love may have to confront wrongdoing head-on and take action to bring about change.
And how did the crowds respond? I am encouraged by this, as they took the point and began to trust Him. Jesus was not seeking general approval from the crowd, but His sincerity and forcefulness won the trust of many.