The following contribution is from J. Tyrone Marcus, author of Unbeatable! Seven Pillars of Personal Excellence and co-teacher in the Damian Jean-Baptiste Caribbean School of Ministry. You can follow his weekly blogs at

.Do you have divine insight?

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs 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 (ESV]

Few of us who have chosen to be Jesus’ apprentices have any doubt about his ability to peer into the hearts of men. Jesus did so with clinical accuracy and piercing depth. He knew what was in the human heart.

The above account takes place after both the wedding at Cana in Galilee and the temple cleansing.[1]  John 2 ends with a summary of increasing faith in Jesus, by virtue of his many signs, seven of which are recorded between John 2 and 11.[2]  John then makes a telling comment about Jesus’ reticence in entrusting himself to humans. This was rooted in his spiritual insight into people’s hearts.

Jesus knew then, and he knows now, that we are fickle, frail and fraught with internal inconsistencies. We blow hot and cold. We’re spiritually zealous today and lukewarm tomorrow. Left to ourselves, we are not very trustworthy. Jesus was aware of this reality.

My question for us is simply this: Do we also know “what is in man”? In other words, do followers of Jesus, broken as we are but filled with the Spirit of God, have the capacity to see into the hearts of others? I think we do. Consider the wisdom of Proverbs 20:5: “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” The Proverbs teach us that it is possible to be spiritually discerning when it comes to drawing out from the depths of the inner person.

Paul taught a similar principle in 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 where he states that the “spiritual person judges all things” and further that “we have the mind of Christ.” You are not Jesus, but you can think like him. Through the Spirit, you can be wise, perceptive and discerning when you consider the actions of others.

However, the goal of spiritual insight into the others’ hearts is not to be self-righteous or condescending. The goal is love. Paul said as much to that very congregation in Corinth, reminding them that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1). As we grow in knowledge and depth of insight, we should also be growing in love.

You know more that you realize about human behaviour. Often, it means that you can anticipate how people in your life will respond to a given situation. Use this gift to manage your expectations of others. This is likely to reduce conflict and also reduce unnecessary stress in relationships.

Divine wisdom has been poured generously into our hearts and minds. Let's use this grace to enrich the lives of those we are privileged to influence.

*   *   *   *   *

[1] Some debate exists as to whether there were two temple cleansings, since the Synoptic Gospels place this incident at the end of Jesus’ ministry. Yet there is general agreement that John’s placement of the story was primarily for theological purposes.

[2] These chapters are often called the ‘Book of Signs’.