And so we reach the last part of this passage. If you remember the first part focused on the healing of the man, himself. The second part had to do with the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus because he said he was God. And now this final installment reads like a courtroom transcript; Jesus is giving defense testimony as to why people should believe he is who he says he is. Let’s read together:
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
“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.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 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. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 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. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:31-47)
Back in Jesus’ day the testimony of two people were needed to corroborate a story in a court of law. Jesus starts off by saying, “Look, I get it if you don’t want to take my own word that I’m the Son of God, but let’s look at 5 other sources of testimony that testifies to the fact.”
- His Father. I’ll admit that when Jesus says, “There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true,” (verse 32) I thought he was talking about John the Baptizer. However, the word “another” in Greek is the word allos which means “another of the same kind” so we can assume that Jesus is talking about God, the Father. If he were talking about a human the word would probably be heteros which means “another of a different kind.” He says more about the Father’s testimony in verses 37 and 38, “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.” I’m not sure but he could be referring to the time he was baptized and the Spirit descended and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17). He is also probably referring to all the prophesy that had been written about him.
- John the Baptizer. If they wanted a human’s word, then they had to look no farther than John the Baptizer. He was born to prepare the hearts of the people for the Son of God (Luke 1:16-17). And this was to fulfill prophesy about one who would come before the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3). For a while they didn’t have a problem with John. In fact, the Bible says, “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light,” (verse 35). My guess is because John followed the Pharisaical laws and was preaching a coming Messiah like any good Jew should. As long as he was preaching about a Messiah that fit their mold and not Jesus, they were fine with him.
- Jesus’ own works. So I get that they won’t take his own testimony but what about all the good stuff he was doing? He was healing the sick, the blind, the deaf and the dumb. He was casting out demons and teaching the Word of God. He wasn’t just talking the talk, he was walking the walk. His life was exemplary and without sin. He says in verse 36, ” For the works that the Father has given me to finish- the very works that I am doing- testify that the Father has sent me.”
- Scripture. One of the most convincing pieces of evidence for me that Jesus is who he says he is is all the prophesies he fulfilled. Scripture, time and time again, points toward Jesus- who he was to be, the things that he would do, where he was to be from, how he was to die… Jesus tells the Pharisees, “Look, you say you know the Scriptures so well, if this is true then why don’t you get what it is saying about me?”
- Moses. I love how he wraps up his defense. The Pharisees held Moses in very high regard. He was their acting Savior from Egypt, he talked directly with God, he was the recipient of the ten commandments, etc. etc. etc. They were so concerned with Moses and the law, they were so wrapped up in the rules and regulations that they missed the Messiah. Moses himself prophesied about the Jesus in Deuteronomy 18:15-22. You would think that since they were so wrapped up in Moses that they would’ve known about this passage. They were too busy maintaining the rules that they missed the Ruler. If they want to trust in the law, then the law will be their judge. He will allow the Pharisees to condemn themselves by the law because the law points to Jesus. If they miss that part of the law, then by that part they will be judged.
All the testimony boils down to this: You can know about Jesus. You can know a lot about Jesus, actually. You can even be an expert- but if you don’t know Jesus personally you don’t know squat. Jesus tells the Pharisees in verse 38, “nor does his word dwell in you.” The word “dwell” has an underlying meaning of abiding or implying an intimate relationship with. Think about it: Satan knows a lot about Jesus but will never have a loving relationship with him. What is the status of your knowledge about God today? Do you know Jesus as the Lord of your life? or Do you rest in the facts that you know about him? Back when I was younger, I loved New Kids on the Block. I knew their birthdays, where they were from, what color their eyes were, and what was their favorite things to do. With as much as I learned about them I never knew them and they never knew me. Knowing all those facts made me feel closer to them, but the fact of the matter is that I never once hung out with them or talked to them on the phone. I was even a president of their fan club and that status didn’t get me anywhere either. So I ask you again, Do you know Jesus as the Lord of your life? or Do you rest in the the facts that you know about him?