Summary: Jesus’ witnesses prove His union with the Father and support His claim that He is the Son of God, the one who gives life, and the Judge of all.
We’ll finish the fifth chapter of John today where Jesus has been charged with committing the crime of blasphemy. The Jews wanted to kill Him for saying He was equal with God, so He says something that is really the backbone of His argument: “The Son can do nothing of Himself” (:19). All the verses that follow stick with this theme and show the union between Jesus and the Father: “I can of my own self do nothing” (:30).
Now we come to verse 31 and it’s important to remember that His theme hasn’t changed. The Son is one with the Father and equal in every way. They have the same nature and the same abilities and the same plan. This is why it’s impossible for the Son to do something contrary to what the Father desires.
Verse 31 continues this:
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
If the Son bears an independent witness then it’s not a true one. He could say whatever they want Him to say but it wouldn’t be right. As the Son He must say only what the Father says. Look at John 8 for clarity:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 13The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. 14Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. 15Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also (Jn. 8:12-19).
See the union? Jesus counts Himself as one of the two witnesses and “There is another that beareth witness of me”. These two have the same story and for either to change would be a lie.
33Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
They sought and believed John’s witness to the truth. He was a prophet, a voice in the wilderness which preached the coming Lord. They rejoiced because they receive honor from men (:44), but they refuse to believe the greater witness:
36But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
This whole confrontation began when Jesus healed a man. Rather than persecuting Him they should have worshipped. Or at the very least they should have diligently sought to understand who He was and how He got that power. But it seems the more He does in regard to miracles the more they hate Him. Even when He raises Lazarus they only want to kill Lazarus too! (Jn. 12:9-11). He proves the truth over and over but they only loath Him for it.
But many believe when they see the signs. For the disciples in Cana it only took turning the water to wine (Jn. 2:11). Nicodemus saw what He did at the Passover and eventually he seems to believe (Jn. 7:51; 19:39-42). There are countless others who saw and believed and likely just as many who saw and did not. But Jesus claims these miracles testify that He is the Son of God.
And this was something that was predicted in the Old Testament:
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing (Is. 35:4-6).
Jesus later defines when this prophecy was fulfilled:
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me (Mt. 11:2-6).