“So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true. Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” (John 8:13)
John 8 showcases an extensive dialogue between Jesus and the religious leaders who He encountered at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:45). As the final day of the feast featured a festival of lights, so Jesus used this occasion to preach and teach that He was the fulfillment of the feast by being the light of the world (John 8:12). The Jewish religious leaders, specifically the chief priests and the Pharisees, were not accepting Jesus’ testimony.
The Pharisees could not, and would not, accept Jesus’ testimony about Himself. They told Him that His witness was not legal under Mosaic Law and therefore was not true or acceptable. Their reasoning was based on the principle that at least two witnesses were needed in a legal setting to accept a claim or testimony (see Deuteronomy 19:15).
The Jews mockingly brought up Jesus’ own words from John 5:31. How does He meet this statement by His opponents? Jesus does not dismiss the human proverb that “self-praise is no praise,” but He affirms that He was an exception to the rule, or rather, that it did not apply to Him. Remember also that Jesus insisted that John the Baptist gave witness to the validity of Jesus’ testimony (John 5:32-35 along with Jesus’ own works (5:36), God the Father (5:37-38) and the Scriptures (5:39-47).
In John 8:14-18 Jesus gives three reasons that His testimony about Himself was true. First, Jesus knew his origin and destiny while the Jews were ignorant even of basic spiritual truths, making their judgment limited and superficial (vv. 14–15). Second, the intimate union of the Son with the Father guaranteed the truth of the Son’s witness (v. 16). Third, the Father and Son witnessed together regarding the identity of the Son (vv. 17–18).
Puritan Matthew Henry writes, “Did not Moses and all the prophets bear witness of themselves when they avouched themselves to be God’s messengers? Did not the Pharisees ask John Baptist, What sayest thou of thyself? They overlooked the testimony of all the other witnesses, which corroborated the testimony he (Jesus) bore of himself. Had he only borne record of himself, his testimony had indeed been suspicious, and the belief of it might have been suspended; but his doctrine was attested by more than two or three credible witnesses, enough to establish every word of it.”
The credibility of Jesus’ testimony as to His identity is also aligned with the credible witness of His resurrection. I Corinthians 15:1-7 says, “ Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
The testimony of Jesus identity and ministry is overwhelming. We have a trustworthy Savior Who is Who He says He is and Who has done what the Bible says He has done.
Soli deo Gloria!