“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5:39-46)
Beginning in John 5:30, Jesus begins a lengthy testimony before the Jewish religious leaders 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). The second supportive testimony of Jesus’ claim to be God is the testimony of His own works or miracles (John 5:36). Remember, this discourse by Jesus is conducted in the immediate aftermath of His healing an invalid man by the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17). The third supportive testimony of Jesus’ claim to be God is the testimony from God the Father (John 5:37-38).
Jesus has one more supportive testimony of His identity as God. It is the testimony of and from Scripture, especially from Moses.
The Jewish leaders sought eternal life in the Scriptures. Their search was a diligent one. However, they failed miserably because it is not the Scriptures which give eternal life but rather testify that it is Jesus Christ who is the source of physical, spiritual and eternal life. Jesus said the Scriptures, within the immediate context this refers to the Old Testament, bear witness about Him. However, instead of believing in Jesus, the Jewish religious leaders rejected Him and sought to kill Him (John 5:18). They rejected not only Jesus but also the testimony of Moses. Jesus indicated that it was not He alone who accused them of unbelief but also Moses.
Jesus said that if the religious leaders truly believed Moses, they would believe in Him because Moses wrote about Him. While Jesus did not mention any specific Mosaic text of Scripture, such as Deuteronomy 18:15 or Numbers 21:1-9, in a general way Moses testified of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
Recently, upon the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, President Donald Trump called upon Pastor Robert Jeffries of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX to give a dedicatory prayer. This invitation was criticized by former 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Romney wrote on Twitter, the day before the embassy’s opening, that, “Robert Jeffries says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell’. He has said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States embassy in Jerusalem.”
Pastor Jeffries, who fulfilled the invitation to pray at the embassy’s opening, responded to Romney’s Tweet by saying, “Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. The fact that I, along with tens of millions of evangelical Christians around the world, continue to espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy.”
The rejection of Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior, and the accompanying biblical testimony of this truth, continues to this present day. Christians must not compromise the Gospel in the face of ongoing opposition to the truth.
Soli deo Gloria!