The Gospel of John: A Valid Testimony, Part 1.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.” (John 5:30-38).

The Apostle John wanted his readers to understand that God the Father and God the Son are in unity with one another. The Son is the exact imprint of the Father. Or as Jesus explained it in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” This does not mean that they are the same individuals but rather one in essence and substance. The Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, while distinct persons, possess the fullness of the divine nature or divinity. Therefore, what the Son does is what the Father does, and vice versa because what the Son is the Father and Spirit are.

This is what Jesus begins to teach the religious leaders of the Jews in John 5. He can heal on the Sabbath because He is the Lord of the Sabbath. What God the Father does is what God the Son does. There is no disharmony. In effect, Jesus was testifying to the religious leaders of His day that He was/is God.

Jesus began to explain this harmony between He and God the Father with the subject of raising the dead. God the Father raised the dead (Deuteronomy 32:39; I Kings 17:17-22). So too does God the Son (John 11). So too does God the Holy Spirit (John 3; Ephesians 2:1-10).

A second harmony between God the Father and God the Son is in the realm of judgment. Jesus said that the Father has given the right to judge the guilt or innocence of sinners to the Son: that is Jesus. This not only means the right to judge but also the authority to judge.

A third harmony between God the Father and God the Son is that both are the source of life. Physical, spiritual and eternal. Remember John 1:4 which says regarding the Word (Jesus Christ): “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Jesus will also say in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus now begins a lengthy testimony that He is in effect God in the flesh. He realizes that if He just says this, it is not a valid witness or testimony under Jewish Law. There must be corroborative testimony (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). Jesus even acknowledges this truth when He says “If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” Therefore, Jesus gives His audience, then and now, corroborative testimony that He is Emmanuel: God in human form. In doing so, Jesus sets forth a high view of the Scriptures.

The first supportive testimony that establishes Jesus’ claim to be God is the testimony of John the Baptist. John 5:32-35 says, “There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”

As a reminder, John the Baptist’s testimony regarding the identity of Jesus Christ is found in John 1:19-34. It culminates with John’s statement in vs, 34 that Jesus is the Son of God when he says, “And I have seen and have borne witness that this (Jesus Christ) is the Son of God.”

The second supportive testimony of Jesus’ claim to be God is the testimony of His own works or miracles. Remember, this discourse by Jesus is conducted in the immediate aftermath of His healing of an invalid man by the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17). Jesus says, “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.”

Thus far Jesus has changed water in to wine (John 2:1-12), has cleansed the Temple (John 2:13-22), healed a nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54) in addition to the healing of the invalid man. All these works testify to Jesus’ identity as God. More works would follow.

The third supportive testimony of Jesus’ claim to be God is the testimony from God the Father. Jesus says, “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.”

Three recorded instances of the Father’s testimony regarding the Son are found in Matthew 3:17Mark 1:11, and Luke 3:22. All three recount the baptism of Jesus and the accompanying words from God the Father who says, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus has one more supportive testimony to share but before He does He condemns the religious leaders as unbelievers. This is based on the fact that (1) they have not heard the Father’s voice; (2) His form they have never seen; (3) His word is not abiding in them; and (4) they do not believe in the One who the Father has sent; notably the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, God has not left us with limited evidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be. There is an abundance of testimony to His identity, including His own teaching, the witness of John the Baptist, the witness of the Father, and the witness of our Lord’s miracles. In times of doubt, remembering this testimony can fortify our faith and encourage us to persevere.”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

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