Four Witnesses To Jesus
If I stand as the lone witness to My true identity, then I can be dismissed as a liar. But if you listen, you will hear another testify about Me, and I know what He says about Me is genuine and true. You sent messengers to John, and he told the truth to everyone who would listen. Still his message about Me originated in heaven, not in mortal man. I am telling you these things for one reason—so that you might be rescued. The voice of John the Baptist, the wandering prophet, is like a light in the darkness; and for a time, you took great joy and pleasure in the light he offered.
There’s another witness standing in My corner who is greater than John or any other man. The mission that brings Me here, and the things I am called to do, demonstrate the authenticity of My calling which comes directly from the Father. In the act of sending Me, the Father has endorsed Me. None of you really knows the Father. You have never heard His voice or seen His profile. His word does not abide in you because you do not believe in the One sent by the Father.
Here you are scouring through the Scriptures, hoping that you will find eternal life among a pile of scrolls. What you don’t seem to understand is that the Scriptures point to Me. Here I am with you, and still you reject the truth contained in the law and prophets by refusing to come to Me so that you can have life.
Jesus is the source of life, the animating energy of creation that humanity desperately lacks.
This kind of glory does not come from mortal men. And I see that you do not possess the love of God. I have pursued you, coming here in My Father’s name, and you have turned Me away. If someone else were to approach you with a different set of credentials, you would welcome him. That’s why it is hard to see how true faith is even possible for you: you are consumed by the approval of other men, longing to look good in their eyes; and yet you disregard the approval of the one true God. Don’t worry that I might bring you up on charges before My Father. Moses is your accuser even though you’ve put your hope in him because if you believed what Moses had to say, then you would believe in Me because he wrote about Me. But if you ignore Moses and the deeper meaning of his writings, then how will you ever believe what I have to say?
John 5:31-47 (VOICE)
He Claimed That There Are Valid Witnesses Who Support His Claim To Deity
The word witness is a key word in John’s Gospel; it is used forty-seven times. Jesus did bear witness to Himself, but He knew they would not accept it; so He called in three other witnesses.
The first was John the Baptist, whom the religious leaders had interrogated carefully.
Witnesses to Jesus
“If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message.
John 5:31-35 (NLT)
In fact, at the very end of His ministry, our Lord pointed the rulers back to the witness of John the Baptist (Matt 21:23-27). John knew who Jesus was and faithfully declared what he knew to the people of Israel. John told the people that Jesus was the Lord (John 1:23), the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36), and the Son of God (John 1:34).
John was a “burning and a shining lamp” (Jesus is the Light, John 8:12), and the Jewish people were excited about his ministry. However, their enthusiasm cooled; and nobody lifted a finger to try to deliver John when he was arrested by Herod. The leaders looked on John as a “local celebrity” (Matt. 11:7-8), but they did not want to receive his message of repentance. The publicans and sinners accepted John’s message and were converted, but the religious leaders refused to submit (Matt. 21:28-32).
Whenever God raises up a spiritual leader who commands attention, there is always the danger of attracting people who want to bask in his popularity but not submit to his authority. A “mixed multitude” followed Moses and Israel out of Egypt, people who were impressed with the miracles but not yielded to the Lord. The prophets and Apostles, as well as the great leaders in church history, all had to put up with shallow people who followed the crowd but refused to obey the truth. We have them in churches today.
Our Lord’s second witness was the witness of His miracles.
But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me.
John 5:36 (NLT)
You will remember that John selected seven of these “signs” to include in his Gospel as proof that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:30-31). Jesus made it clear that His works were the works of the Father (John 5:17-20; 14:10). Even Nicodemus had to admit that our Lord’s miracles identified Him as “sent from God” (John 3:2).
But the Bible also records miracles performed by ordinary men, such as Moses, Elijah, and Paul.
Do these miracles prove that they are also sent of God?
Yes, they do (see Heb. 2:3-4), but none of these men ever claimed to be the very Son of God. No servant of God able to perform God’s mighty works would ever claim to be God Himself. The fact that Jesus made this claim, backed up by His mighty works and perfect life, is evidence that His claim is true.
Jesus indicated that the Father gave Him a specific ministry to finish while He was here on earth. “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). He was not only on a divine timetable, but He followed a divine agenda. He had specific works to accomplish in the Father’s will.
The third and final witness our Lord summoned was the Word of the Father.
“But my purpose is not to get your vote, and not to appeal to mere human testimony. I’m speaking to you this way so that you will be saved. John was a torch, blazing and bright, and you were glad enough to dance for an hour or so in his bright light. But the witness that really confirms me far exceeds John’s witness. It’s the work the Father gave me to complete. These very tasks, as I go about completing them, confirm that the Father, in fact, sent me. The Father who sent me, confirmed me. And you missed it. You never heard his voice, you never saw his appearance. There is nothing left in your memory of his Message because you do not take his Messenger seriously.
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?
“But don’t think I’m going to accuse you before my Father. Moses, in whom you put so much stock, is your accuser. If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me. He wrote of me. If you won’t take seriously what he wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?”
John 5:37-47 (MSG)
The Jewish people highly revered the written Word of God, particularly the Law that was given through Moses. Moses heard God’s voice and saw God’s glory; but we have that same voice and glory in the inspired Word of God (see 2 Peter 1:12-21). The Old Testament Scriptures bear witness to Jesus Christ, yet the people who received and preserved that Word were blind to their own Messiah.
For one thing, they did not permit that Word to generate faith in their hearts. They weren’t trusting God and clinging to Him and His Word. Jesus said that if we really believe in Him, we will keep His Word alive in our hearts. This is accomplished by studying and meditating on it. God’s Word is His thoughts and when we give His Word first place in our lives, His thoughts become our thoughts and we will experience the good plans He has for us.
It is unfortunate when our “study” of the Bible makes us arrogant and militant instead of humble and anxious to serve others, even those who disagree with us. The mark of true Bible study is not knowledge that puffs up, but love that builds up (1 Cor. 8:1).
So, there was something wrong with the minds of these Jewish leaders: they did not see Christ in their own Scriptures (see 2 Cor. 3:14-18; 4:3-6). But there was also something wrong with their wills: they would not trust in the Saviour. Because they did not have the Word in their hearts, they did not want Christ in their hearts. They were religious and self-righteous, but they were not saved.
These leaders had a third problem, and this was the lack of love in their hearts. “Because I know you don’t have God’s love within you“ (John 5:42). This means the experience of God’s love for them as well as their expression of love for God. They claimed to love God, but their attitude toward Jesus Christ proved that their love was counterfeit.
Their attitude toward God’s Word hindered their faith, but so also did their attitude toward themselves and one another. The Pharisees enjoyed being honored by men (see Matt. 23:1-12) and they did not seek for the honor that comes from God alone. They did not honor the Son because He did not honor them! Because they rejected the true Son of God who came in the Father’s name, they would one day accept a false messiah, the Antichrist, who would come in his own name (see 2 Thes. 2; Rev. 13). If we reject that which is true, we will ultimately receive that which is false.
Our Lord closed this penetrating sermon by warning the Jewish leaders that Moses, whom they honored, would be their judge, not their savior. The very Scriptures that they used to defend their religion would one day bear witness against them. The Jews knew what Moses wrote, but they did not really believe what he wrote.
It is one thing to have the Word in our hands or our heads, but quite another thing to have it in our hearts.
Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), and the written Word bears witness to the Incarnate Word. “Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27).
The witness of John the Baptist, the witness of the divine miracles, and the witness of the Word of God all unite to declare that Jesus Christ is indeed One with the Father and the very Son of God.
Our Lord was not intimidated by the accusations of the religious leaders.
Why would anyone refuse to come to Jesus for eternal life?
There are a number of reasons. Religious people don’t trust only Jesus, because they are convinced their own good works are worthy of salvation (Romans 10:3). Sinners don’t come to Jesus, because their deeds are evil and they don’t want the light of God’s Truth shed on their ungodliness (John 3:20).
Jesus knows the hearts of each one of us. There isn’t a thought or feeling we have that He isn’t intimately acquainted with (Psalms 94:11 and 139:1-6).
These were very religious people with very pious actions. But none of it was motivated by God’s love (1 Corinthians 13:1-4).
Those who seek the praise of men will never be strong believers. The fear of man brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25). No wonder faith is such a rare commodity today.
In other words, “We cannot believe if we are seeking honor from people instead of seeking honor from God alone.” An integral part of faith is seeking God only with our whole hearts (Matthew 6:33 and John 15:7). If we are concerned about what people think so that we can gain their approval (or honor), we will never take a stand in faith for anything that we might be criticized for. This one thing has probably stopped as many people from receiving from God as anything else. We cannot be “people-pleasers” and please God at the same time (Hebrews 11:6). Satan uses persecutions (Mark 4:17) to steal away God’s Word and thereby stop our faith. To see faith work, we must say with Paul, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I have no need for the glory and honor that comes from men.
The love of God has been shed abroad in my heart and I pursue those things that bring glory to His name. It is my desire to receive the praise, honor and glory, which come from He who alone is my God.
I am a member of the very family of God. I am His own son/daughter, called by His name. His power flows in me and through me. When people receive me, they receive my Father. When people reject me, they reject my Father.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’ name, Amen!