Summary: Truth is not only a matter of the head, embracing truth through our rational abilities, but also through the disposition of our inward choice.
Intro – The Heart of Truth
Let me begin by asking a question… is truth a matter of the head or the heart? Do we embrace truth through the deduction of our rational abilities… or through the disposition of our inward choice?
This is an issue that Jesus is going to challenge us with today.
We are continuing in series „A Journey with Jesus through the Gospel of John.‟ At the beginning of the fifth chapter…we encounter a man had been one born … Jesus healed him… and this begins a confrontation with the religious leaders… because it was the Sabbath. In his response, we read…
John 5:17-18 (NIV) 17 Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
The religious leaders understood you have to submit to him… or kill him.
Jesus declares simply he is working with HIS Father. This raises the level of divide even farther. Jesus went on to make astonishing claims of deity. Jesus claimed to give eternal life (John 5:24), to be the source of life (John 5:26), and to judge sin (John 5:27).
Now Jesus takes up the issue of validity for such claims… and in doing so… he confronts how the claim to want truth… is never as simple as the mental exercise we might think it is.
John 5:31-47 (NIV) 31 "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 33 "You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36 "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. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 "I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? 45 "But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"
The most central figure to ever break into this realm… was the most reluctant to be self-validating. Most of the time he simply WAS WHO HE WAS and when the leaders of his own God
claimed people rejected him… that‟s when he said… can‟t you see that I am the fulfillment of everything that has been pointing and preparing for me?
Jesus refers to the Old Testament principle, central to later Jewish law (both that of the rabbis and that of the Dead Sea Scrolls), that two witnesses are necessary to prove a (capital) case (Deut. 17:6; Deut. 19:15).
In truth God can say “I Am that I Am‟ because he is self existent… and Jesus does just that at points,… but to enter the realm in which men rightfully do not have to accept one‟s own self claims. The gist of what Jesus says to these religious leaders, is that he comes with plenty of sources of validity… AND YET they did not receive him. He mentions each and then how the heart of truth was the problem.
Jesus states four major witnesses… each testify and authenticate who he is.
1. The spoken testimony of the prophet JOHN „THE BAPTIST‟ (vv. 33-35)
John (the Baptist) had emerged as a prophet that it was time to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. He spoke to the condition of the people so clearly that masses began to come and turn back to God… and were baptized in the Jordon as a sign.