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.
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 second witness is the blood. John uses this word three times. This particular word for blood in the Greek is αἷμα (haima). It can mean the blood of man or animals which refers to the seat of life.
However, in the context of today’s text, the word blood refers to the shedding of blood by violence. In other words, John’s reference to the testimony of blood refers to a slaying or murder. With respect to Jesus, the word blood refers to His crucifixion which provided a substitutionary atonement for sinners.
I Corinthians 2:1-2 says, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” The focal point of the Apostle Paul’s teaching, preaching and ministry was the cross of Christ.
Dr. R. C. Sproul says that, “Paul was saying that in all of his teaching, in all of his preaching, in all of his missionary activity, the central point of importance was the cross. In effect, this teacher was saying to his students that you might forget other things that I teach you, but don’t ever forget the cross because it was on the cross, through the cross, and by the cross that our Savior performed His work of redemption and gathered His people for eternity.”
How did God testify that Jesus was the Son of God with the shedding of His blood on the cross? There are several which the Gospels record. All of these evidences were unique events which occurred immediately during and after the crucifixion.
First, there was the darkness across the land from noon until 3:00 p.m. (Matthew 27:45). Second, the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Third, there was an earthquake (Matthew 27:51). Fourth, God resurrected many Old Testament as an indication of the resurrection of life for all who trust in Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:52-53). There was even the testimony from the Roman Centurion that Jesus was the Son of God (Mark 15:39).
One commentator concludes that, “The cross says the King of Heaven has come down, and that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the true and biblical witness of our Lord’s crucifixion.”
Next time, we will study the witness of the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!