Summary: Jesus provides five witnesses to support His claim to be the Son of God.
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Imagine hearing a knock on your front door. You open up the door and find a man you have never seen before.
“Hello,” he says, “I’m a representative of billionaire John Smith and today is your lucky day. You have been randomly picked to receive a one-time gift of $25,000.” He hands you a legal form and a pen. “If you sign right here, the check will be sent to you in the mail.”
How would you react to this amazing news? If you’re like me, you would probably be skeptical. Usually, if something is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.
I’d want some proof that I was really going to be sent the money. I would ask the man for a business card. I would ask to talk to the man’s superior. I’d check the date. Is it April Fool’s Day?
Some people think the claims of Jesus recorded in the New Testament are too amazing to be true.
• “I am the SON of God!”
• “I am able to RAISE the dead!”
• “I am the JUDGE of all people!”
How do we know Jesus’ claims are true? Is there any proof?
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid” (vv. 31-32).
On another occasion Jesus said, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going” (John 8:14). The apparent contradiction can be resolved because the statement in chapter 5 is based on legal grounds whereas the statement in chapter 8 is based on personal knowledge.
The law demanded two or three witnesses. “One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15).
The witnesses that support Jesus’ claims:
1. The witness of JOHN THE BAPTIST
“You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light” (vv. 33-35).
“John was a lamp” – His witness was small (though important) and temporary. “Was” may indicate that John was now dead or at least in prison.
“That burned and gave light” – A lamp’s light shows people the way in darkness. John’s witness pointed people to Jesus who is the way to eternal life.
“And you chose for a time to enjoy his light” – The historian Josephus wrote that people “were aroused [or overjoyed] to the highest degree” by John’s message (Ant. 18.5.2, 118). They were excited because he preached that the coming of the Christ was near.
John the Baptist’s testimony:
• “The next say John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29; cf. v. 35).
• “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).
• “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him’” (John 3:28).
2. The witness of Jesus’ WORKS
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me” (v. 36).
The quality of a person’s work reveals something about his or her character.
The Gospel of John lists seven amazing of Jesus:
(1) The turning of water into wine (2:1-11)
(2) The healing of the official’s son (4:43-54)
(3) The healing of the lame man (5:1-15)
(4) The feeding of the multitude (6:1-14)
(5) The walking on the water (6:16-21)
(6) The healing of the blind man (9:1-41)
(7) The raising of Lazarus (11:1-44)
John calls these miracles “signs.” They are signs because they testify to the validity of His claim to be the Son of God (cf. John 20:30-31).
Jesus later said to those who doubted Him, “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me” (10:25). In His final discourse to the disciples He asked them to believe Him “on the evidence of the miracles themselves” (14:11).
The miracles of Jesus were usually followed by a confession of faith by many of the spectators (2:11; 4:53; 6:66, 69; 9:38; 11:45).
3. The witness of the FATHER
“And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent” (vv. 37-38).