Summary: Three in One
I. Three Witnesses In The Son 6
6 This is He who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
A. Jesus Is The Son Of God
1. The object of the apostle in this verse, in connection with 1John 5:8, is to state the nature of the evidence that Jesus is the Son of God.
2. He refers to three well-known things on which he probably had insisted much in his preaching — the water, and the blood, and the Spirit.
3. These furnished evidence that Jesus is the Son of God and by extension the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world.
B. Jesus Came By Water And Blood
1. This does not mean that when he came into the world he was accompanied in some way by water and blood; but the idea is that they were remarkable testimonials in to his character and work.
a. An ambassador might come with credentials
b. A warrior might come with the spoils of victory
c. A prince might come with the insignia of royalty
d. A prophet might come with signs and wonders
i. The Lord Jesus came
a. with power to raise the dead
b. to heal disease
c. to cast out devils
ii. But John says nothing of those thing and saved his remarkable in his view that he came by water and blood.
2. He came by (in, with) water.
a. Clement of Alexandria believes baptismal regeneration and faith were in view, and blood publicly acknowledged that.
b. Some consider that the words are used to denote the fact that the Lord Jesus was truly a man, and that the apostle means to say that he had all the properties of a human being — a spirit or soul, blood, and the water the human body is largely made of.
c. Others suppose that by his coming by water, there is reference to his pure life, as water is the emblem of purity.
d. Many expositors suppose that the reference is to the baptism of Jesus to mark the entrance on his public work. The reference to blood is undoubted a reference to his death.
e. Some, by the water here, have understood the ordinance of baptism as it is appointed by the Savior to be administered to his people, meaning that the ordinance was instituted by him.
f. There remains, then, but one other interpretation; to wit, that he refers to the water and the blood which flowed from the side of the Savior when he was pierced by the spear of the Roman soldier.
i. This would be the obvious interpretation, and would be entirely clear, if John did not immediately speak of the water and the blood as separate witnesses.
ii. In the case of the water and blood that was extracted by the tip of the spear, THAT water and blood give singular witness to the physical death of the Savior.
3. He came by blood, referring, doubtless, to the shedding of his blood on the cross.
a. The most poignant picture we have of Christ is when he shed His blood on the Cross for us.
b. By this, the apostle says, that the blood shed at his death furnished a crucial evidence or witness of Who He is.
c. Not by water only, but by water and blood.
i. John the Baptist came by water only; that is, he came to baptize the people, and to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah.
ii. Jesus was distinguished from john by the fact that his ministry was characterized by the shedding of blood for the remission of sin.
4. And it is this Spirit.
a. We have two of the witnesses: water and blood.
b. Now we have the third: the Holy Spirit.
c. That is, he is the greatest witness in the matter, confirming all others.
i. He bears witness to the soul that Jesus came by water and blood, for that would not be received by us without his intervention.
ii. Is so true that the Holy Spirit may be called truth itself, as God is so benevolent that he may be called love itself.
II. Three Witnesses In The Earth 7-8
7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
A. The Holy Spirit Bears Witness To The Fact That Jesus Is The Son Of God
1. He did it at the baptism of Jesus.
2. Christ was eminently endowed with the influences of the Holy Spirit