Make sure your faith is real:
- Jesus judges people’s faith (23-24)- many “believed” in his name because of his signs, but Jesus did not “believe” in them is literally what John is saying. Jesus is not the one on trial; he is the one who discerns whether people have true faith or not. These miracles he did in Jerusalem show that he simply liked to show grace to people (since his main reason for performing them does not seem to be to gain disciples on account of them).
- Jesus cannot be fooled (24-25)- Jesus knew it was shallow faith because he has the same kind of knowledge of people that God the Father has. He does not need anyone to testify about himself (“Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?”) because he knows exactly what is in man.
The most natural reading of the next passage is that Nicodemus is one of these shallow believers, as the first thing he points out to Jesus is that he is impressed by the “signs” Jesus is doing.