The beginning of John’s Gospel moves quickly. Chapter one contains a theological prologue and introduces John the Baptist and Jesus. The second chapter contains two powerful accounts- Jesus changed water to wine and threw religious hucksters out of the temple. Then the chapter ends strangely.
People saw the signs Jesus did in Jerusalem and believed in him but He did not entrust Himself to them because he knew what was inside people (John 2:25).
The best way to understand this murky statement is to look how Jesus treated people in the following chapters.
Jesus and Nicodemus
Nicodemus, the Pharisee and teacher, was a respected member of the upper class. He was pressed to be born again. The meeting was left unresolved. Later we learn that Nicodemus defended Jesus in the hostile Sanhedrin. He also made a dangerous public confession when he asked for the corpse of the man condemned by both Rome and his own people (John 3:3; 7:50; 19:39)
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
The Samaritan woman had a checkered past and a questionable present. She was pushed beyond parochial debates about worship mountains and forced to confront a Messiah who knew her and would still talk to her. She immediately believed and told the people in her village where she lived on the moral margins (John 4:1-42).
Jesus and Two Different Men
A powerful father was sent home with healing for his son with no fanfare or visible sign John 4:46-54).
The crippled man beside the mysterious healing pool received a Messianic miracle that he did not seek. He was later warned to stopped sinning or something worse would happen to him (John 5:1-17).
Jesus Was Complex and Can’t Be Boxed
Many claim Jesus for their limited agenda. He is either a non-confronting friend or a crusading king. He is a passive helper of those in need or only an ally of those who vigorously pursue pharisaic purity. He was more complex than any simplification. He always knew what to do and how to lead each encounter to a vital confrontation with his saving Lordship.
Boxing him in always comes up short.