6 “This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” (I John 5:6-8)
Thus far, John’s epistle has been pretty straightforward. However, I have to confess that at first glance, I John 5:6-8 is a bit obscure in its meaning? What exactly is the apostle writing about when he refers to the water, blood and the Spirit?”
John sets forth in I John 5:6-12 six evidences that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The first three evidences are the Spirit, the water and the blood.
This takes us back to I John 4:1-6 with respect to testing the spirits to see if they are from God. John indicated in I John 4:2-3 that “2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”
One commentator to today’s text explains that, “Christians can be certain that Jesus is God’s Son because God has provided several witnesses that testify to His divine nature, giving hope and assurance to God’s children.”
A key word contained in these verses is the word testify. It comes from the Greek Word μαρτυροῦν (martyroun) meaning to witness or to provide information about a person or an event. Both times when John uses the word it is in the present active format meaning that the witnesses regarding the identity of Jesus Christ is continual and never ending.
It is interesting to note that the Old Testament Law required “the evidence of two or three witnesses” to establish the truth of a particular matter (Deut. 17:6; 19:15; cf. John 8:17–18; 1 Tim. 5:19). The Apostle John will ultimately provide six.
To begin with, we have the witness of Jesus’ baptism. The word “water” (ὕδατος; hydatos) occurs four times in vs. 6-8. These four occurrences strongly indicate that John had the baptism of Jesus in mind.
The account of the Baptism of Jesus is found in all four gospels (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23; John 1:29-34). It is that moment that Jesus was anointed for His three year public ministry.
Matthew 3:16-17 says, “16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The declaration attributed to God the Father is taken not only from Psalm 2:7 but also from Isaiah 42:1. The test reveals that Jesus Christ is truly the anointed Messiah and Servant of Yahweh who is King of kings. However, He would be a servant King who would suffer on behalf of sinners while on the cross.
When Jesus was baptized, He was identifying with the sinners He came to save. God the Father’s announcement in effect announces that Jesus was not just a mere man but also God in the flesh. As recorded in John 1:29, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
When next we meet, we will examine the witness of Jesus’ crucifixion that He is the Son of God.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!