Star Witnesses of the Son

Posted: February 22, 2015 in John

John 5:31-47, “Star Witnesses of the Son”

Every trial attorney wants a star witness.  Legal cases (specifically criminal cases) can rise and fall based on the quality of the witnesses.  One of the huge criminal cases when I was in college was the OJ Simpson murder trial (20 years ago!).  Every day that passed brought new headlines from the witnesses.  One of them, Kato Kaelin, gained almost as much notoriety as the attorneys themselves in the case, and it was unclear which side of the case he helped more.  (NOT a star witness!)  The value of the witness hinges on his/her credibility.  The more credible, the more power they lend to their testimony (and thus, to the case).

Jesus had some stellar witnesses.  He didn’t need them necessarily, but the people listening to Jesus did.  They needed some reason to believe that the Person standing in front of them was indeed the Son of God.  Jesus had made some pretty big claims, and they needed some pretty good reasons to believe them.  Of course Jesus had already given them everything they needed; they just needed to open their eyes and ears and be willing to believe.

Remember the context – we’re picking up at the end of a confrontation Jesus had with the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem.  He had come to Jerusalem for another feast, and while there, He went to the famed pool of Bethesda where people often went for healing.  Jesus hadn’t needed any healing Himself, but encountered a man who had been ill for 38 years who had sat at the poolside day after day trying to get in, but unable to do so.  The man didn’t quite seem to understand what Jesus was doing when Jesus offered to heal him, but Jesus healed him anyway – demonstrating the tremendous power of God.

This ought to have been a cause for rejoicing, but instead it caused a scandal among the religious authorities.  Jesus had healed the man on a Sabbath, and when the Jews got involved they began persecuting Jesus which only intensified after Jesus placed Himself on the same level as God the Father.  They rightly understood Jesus making a claim to Deity, and they wanted to kill Him.  Jesus spoke in His own defense, showing that the Son only did what the Father did – that the Son was to be honored as the Father was honored – that the Son gives life as the Father gives life – that the Father has given the Son the authority to judge the world – that the Father gave the Son the authority to call forth the resurrection – and that the Son seeks only to do the Father’s will.

Those are some pretty big claims!  They were all 100% true, but why should the Jews believe Him?  If some random guy came up to us claiming to be God, we’d rightly think him to be crazy.  Why should the Jews think any different about Jesus?  Because Jesus had already provided all of the proof that was necessary.  There were abundant witnesses that testified of the deity of Jesus.  If the Jews truly belonged to God, they would recognize the witnesses that God gave.

Listen up!  Pay attention to the evidence!  The witnesses speak loudly to the truth of Jesus Christ.

John 5:31–47
31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.

  1. In vs. 30, Jesus made it clear that His power and authority come from the Father, because He seeks the will of the Father who sent Him (not His own).  So Jesus does nothing of His own accord, and neither does He testify of Himself.  Some of this goes to the idea of Deut 19:15, which Jesus used with the disciples as He taught them about church discipline: “By the mouth of two or three witnesses, every matter shall be established.”  Multiple witnesses were required by Hebrew law to legally prove something true, and Jesus certainly had multiple witnesses regarding Himself.  A lone self-witness isn’t very reliable in a court of law.  There isn’t much reason to believe someone who is the only person to speak of himself…especially when it comes to credentials.  Someone might sit in a witness stand and claim to be a rocket scientist, but how is anyone supposed to know if they can’t verify a degree?
  2. For those who are familiar with the gospel of John, this might seem to raise a problem later on in Ch. 8, where Jesus seems to say the exact opposite: John 8:13–14, "(13) The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” (14) Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going." . Question: is this a contradiction in the Bible?  No.  The issues are different, thus so is the response.  In Ch. 5, Jesus is reaching out to the Jews, graciously giving them His credentials (which He didn’t need to do); in Ch. 8, Jesus is responding to the accusations of the Jews.  Facts are simply facts.  Jesus IS God, and it didn’t matter whether or not the Jewish authorities believed Jesus was the only Person claiming it or not.  A person who puffs up a resume without any proof has no reason to be believed.  Yet if everything claimed was true, then it wouldn’t matter if anyone else could attest to it or not.  The truth of the matter doesn’t change.  Again, the facts are that everything Jesus claimed IS true.  What we see here is that Jesus had the advantage of both being factual and having others testify on His behalf.

32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.

  1. Who is the “another”?  Some versions capitalize the word in addition to the pronoun “He,” inferring that this is a reference to God.  Yet taken in context with vs. 33, it might seem to be a reference to John.  Which is it?  Either interpretation could be valid.  Jesus used the present tense here in referring to the person who witnessed of Him, and John’s ministry seems to have passed by this point.  Yet God the Father always bore witness of Jesus, and continues to do so.  Both are included in Jesus’ list of references, and both obviously speak the truth.
  2. So what does it mean to “bear witness”?  The particular word (in various forms) is used 11 times in this section.  It’s obviously a very important theme in what Jesus teaches here.  The word is μαρτυρέω, and it’s the verb form of the word from which we get “martyr.”  It means exactly as it’s translated: to testify / bear witness / attest / affirm / to provide information about something having a personal knowledge of it.  When we speak of “martyrs” today, we speak of those who give their lives because they attest to the truth of Jesus Christ and refuse to turn away from Him.  But that’s a definition that developed over time.  Originally, a martyr would be the equivalent of any witness.  If a person gave a testimonial about anything, they were being a “martyr.”
    1. In this sense, everything about our lives speaks some sort of testimony.  Our iTunes & CD collections speak to our tastes in music.  Our pantries and refrigerators speak to our preferences in food.  Our calendars speak to our priorities in our schedules, our bank statements testify of our priorities in our spending, etc.  We all testify of something.  The question is: what is it that we are testifying?  What do our lives bear witness to?  What it that we want our lives to bear witness of?
    2. Ultimately, the church has been given the responsibility of bearing witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8).  Thankfully, it’s not a task in which we are alone.  First of all, the Holy Spirit empowers us to do it (for it’d be impossible otherwise), but to the context here, Jesus has not just two or three witnesses testifying on His behalf; He has four.  Before the church ever existed, even while the disciples were still coming to an understanding of Jesus, Jesus already had several witnesses who testified of Him.

33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

  1. Witness #1: John the Baptist.  John had already been established as a credible witness among the Jews.  The Jewish authorities had specifically “sent to John,” and they even inquired of him, if he was the Messiah (Jn 1:19-20).  People respected John as a prophet, even if they couldn’t quite figure him out.  They knew he spoke the truth, and they listened to him in all kinds of other matters.  He preached a message of repentance to everyone who came to him for baptism: Jews, tax collectors, Roman soldiers, and more.  But in all of this, testifying of Jesus was his primary mission.  Everything else was gravy.  If the people listened to John on ethical matters and the need for repentance, but ignored John on what he said concerning the Messiah, then they missed the whole point.  Preparing the way for Jesus was John the Baptist’s reason for existence.  This was precisely the reason God sent John in the first place.
    1. The Church shares this much in common with John: this is also our reason for existence!  If the Church is not testifying of Jesus Christ, then we are missing the point.  The Church is not a feel-good club – it’s not a do-good club – it’s not a legalistic be-good club…all of those things miss the point.  We are to testify of the good Son of God – we are to tell others of the good gospel.  Everything else has to flow from that starting point, or we’ve missed it.
    2. How about your own individual faith?  It is based on anything else but the truth of the identity of Jesus?  So many people think they are saved because their good supposedly outweighs their bad (it doesn’t, by the way…it never will), and that God is basically a nice forgiving God in eternity.  That’s a false faith that will send millions of people to hell.  That’s all based on the feel-good, do-good, be-good ideas that have little to nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.  Those who are saved by God are saved for one reason alone: our faith is in the Person of Jesus Christ.  If we don’t know who He is – if we don’t believe upon the things He has done – if that is not the very foundation upon which our faith hangs, then we are not saved.
  2. The good news is that everything the Bible says about the Person and work Jesus is “the truth.”  That’s what Jesus goes on to say regarding the other witnesses He has, but also what He testified of John’s own testimony.  John the Baptist had not lied to or misled the people; he spoke the truth.  When John proclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” (Jn 1:29), that wasn’t a matter of opinion; that was a statement of fact.
    1. Keep in mind that faith by itself doesn’t save.  Faith in the truth saves.  Lots of people have faith in all kinds of things, but it’s not the truth.  We need to know and believe the truth.

34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.

  1. Notice why Jesus has all of these witnesses (starting with John): so that WE might be saved.  Almighty God needs no backup from man – the Creator God has no need for anyone to vouch for His character.  The witnesses that Jesus lists off were not given for Jesus’ benefit, but for ours.  Think about it for a minute.  From God’s perspective, testimony about Him that is acceptable to man is completely unnecessary.  GOD isn’t the One who needs to have faith in Jesus in order to be saved; WE do.  God would still be God if everyone got saved, or if no one got saved.  That wouldn’t change a thing regarding the truth.  So God doesn’t need these witnesses, but we do.  The fact that God gave so many witnesses concerning His Son is a demonstration of the compassion and mercy of God. 
  2. God wants us to be saved.  Why did He send John?  To prepare the way for the Savior.  Why did He send Peter, Paul, and the other apostles?  So that people might be saved.  God has sent men and women throughout history bearing witness of Him, in order that the world could hear, come to faith, and be saved.  This is His merciful outreach.  This is God’s grand desire for all the world.  (1 Tim 2:4)  Specifically, this is God’s desire for you.  God wants you to be saved, and He has reached out in all kinds of ways to you for you to know the truth.

35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

  1. Regarding John, he was faithful to his mission.  He shone as a lamp for Christ.  He was steadfast in his calling and testimony.  The Jews listened for a while, but not for long.  John was taken, and imprisoned by King Herod for speaking the truth (and eventually killed for it).  When John was removed from the scene, things for the Jews went back to life-as-usual.  The whole nation seemingly came out to be baptized, but their repentance was short-lived.
    1. Rejoicing in the light is good, but it needs to be deeper than that.  It needs to be based on sincere faith.  Otherwise, any change that comes is just surface-level and temporary.  It’s possible to rejoice in the things of God without having faith in the Son of God.  Beware you don’t confuse godly sentiments for God the Son!
  2. John was a lamp; so are we.  As the Church, we are supposed to shine the light of Jesus into the world.  Again, we are to witness of Christ as the prophets of God witnessed of Him through the centuries.  That is our same calling and mission.

36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

  1. Witness #2: Jesus’ works / deeds / miracles / mission.  All of the things that God the Father gave Jesus to do testify of Jesus, and they are actually greater than the witness of John the Baptist.  How so?  John was a powerful witness, and he could (and did) speak directly concerning the identity of Jesus.  The difference is that John could speak of Jesus, but Jesus could personally work.  Listening to John was great, but it was at best second-hand.  People could go to Jesus and see Jesus’ works for themselves: first-hand. In this case, actions spoke louder than words, because these actions came directly from the Son of God Himself.
  2. Question: which “works”?  All of them.  Of course the greatest work of all would come at the cross and resurrection.  Jesus’ death on the cross was the act that completed the work of God on our behalf, paying the last of the debt we owed from our sin.  Jesus’ resurrection from the grave was the definitive statement that He is indeed the Son of God, and that His death on our behalf was sufficient.  Truly, that is the pinnacle of the work of Christ!  Yet remember that when Jesus was speaking, all of that was still in the future (by months to years).  Although it was surely in view, Jesus spoke of something more.  He is pointing to everything He did: all the miracles, all of the teaching, all of the demonstrations of His identity. “Works” is plural.  Jesus’ greatest work was accomplished at the cross and resurrection, but that wasn’t all that He did.  His whole ministry testifies to His identity.
  3. Note a couple of things: (1) The Father gave Jesus the works to do, and (2) the works specifically testify that the Father sent Jesus.  This demonstrates Jesus’ divine identity and divine mission.  Even Nicodemus and the other Pharisees understood this, when he noted that no one could do the things Jesus did unless God was with him. (Jn 3:1-2).  The miracles Jesus performed were an essential component to His testimony and credentials.
    1. Question: Do miracles prove God’s favor and blessing upon a person?  Not necessarily.  Miracles by themselves can go either way.  Miracles can be demonically inspired.  Miracles could be faked or manipulated by men.  A show of what appears to be supernatural doesn’t prove anything.  But Jesus’ miracles were different.  There were no tricks or illusions with Him.  This is evident from the specific miracle that spawned this whole speech to the Jews: Jesus had healed a man who had been sick for 38 years.  That sort of healing cannot be faked!  Both the quantity and the quality of Jesus’ miracles were undeniable.  What Jesus did was something that had not been seen in Israel since the days of Elijah, or the days of Moses, and even then it did not compare with what Jesus did on a daily basis in the streets of Jerusalem or the shores of Galilee.  Jesus’ works stood out far apart from the rest.  There was simply no way to see them and NOT see God’s power and calling upon Jesus.

37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.

  1. Witness #3: God the Father.  It wasn’t just the works that God gave Jesus to do that testified of Jesus.  God the Father Himself bore witness of Jesus.  When?  Publicly at Jesus’ baptism (though it was misunderstood by those listening) – privately at Jesus’ transfiguration (which was still to happen in the future).  At both events, the voice of God came from heaven saying “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased.”  It’s tough to get a stronger testimony than that!  Beyond this, God the Father testified of Jesus in the hearts of those who listened to Him.  Jesus will say in Ch. 6 that no one comes to Him in faith unless the Father draws him (Jn 6:44) – the fact that Jesus had any disciples at all was proof of the testimony of God regarding Him.
  2. The Father had indeed testified of Jesus, but the Jews wouldn’t have been able to recognize it if they tried (at least, not without faith).  Why?  Because they hadn’t seen God nor heard Him.  Objection: “What a minute!  What about Mt. Sinai?  The Hebrews heard the voice of God then.”  True.  They did hear the voice of God for themselves, and they were terrified.  And that’s the point.  They heard God and were so frightened that they begged Moses to speak to God on their behalf because they didn’t want to hear God anymore.  The Hebrews had not heard God speak to them in millennia, and refused it the one time they did.  Even when the word of God came to them through the prophets, they always turned away from it.  God had reached out to them through generations, and they consistently refused.  They were the people of God, but they didn’t know God.  They wouldn’t recognize Him if they did see Him, and their rejection of Jesus is proof.  As Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” (Jn 14:9). 
  3. This is the crux of the problem.  It was obvious they had not known the Father, nor had been transformed by His word, because they did not believe the One the Father had sent.  If they had truly known God as their God, then they would have recognized the things that God did.  His word would have been “abiding” in them, and they would have naturally have recognized the hand of God at work.  If you truly know someone, you recognize their handiwork, desires, intents, etc.  Art experts can recognize Picassos and VanGoghs because they can see the uniqueness of the artists in the paintings.  But if we know nothing about the artist, we won’t recognize anything when we see it.  The Jews didn’t know anything about God, so they didn’t recognize His Son, nor did they recognize God’s calling upon His life.
    1. People can know a lot about godly “stuff” without knowing God.  They can know a lot about church without knowing Christ.  The Jews knew a lot about their religion, but little to nothing about the God they were supposedly worshipping in their religion.  Many people today do exactly the same thing.  They know what to do when they walk through the door of a church, but they don’t know the God they’re supposed to be worshipping in the process.  (But you CAN!)

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

  1. Witness #4: The Scriptures.  The Bible testifies of Christ…all of it.  After all, which Scriptures did Jesus refer to here?  The Old Testament.  Keep in mind the New Testament wasn’t yet written at the time Jesus was speaking.  The only Bible they had WAS the Old Testament.  Of course the NT obviously and overtly testifies of Jesus, but so does the OT.  The person, grace, and gospel of Christ is found all through the pages of the OT.  Jesus is prophesied in the Garden of Eden – shown when Noah is sealed into the ark – personally promised to the patriarchs – demonstrated in the life of Joseph – pictured graphically in the Passover – shown in every single sacrifice – sung throughout the psalms – proclaimed by the prophets, and more.  If we don’t see Jesus in the OT, we’re not looking!  Ultimately, the whole book speaks of Him.
    1. This goes to the fundamental purpose of the Bible, in that it’s not about us.  The Bible isn’t a rule book or a how-to manual.  It’s a testimony of Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation.  It tells the story of how God rights every wrong through Jesus Christ.  It’s about Him, and we need to read it with Him in mind.
  2. The Jews looked to the Scriptures to find life, and for good reason: it’s the word of God.  The problem was they knew the words without knowing the meaning.  They could recite the content but didn’t understand the context.  They looked to the Bible in an intellectual pursuit without truly seeking God.  What’s the point of studying the Scriptures, if you’re not looking to know the Author who inspired them?  The Jews at the time didn’t know God, so it didn’t do them much good to memorize the Bible.
    1. The written word points to the Living Word.  The Scriptures point to Jesus.  To study the 1st without the 2nd is (again) to miss the point.  People do this all the time.  Liberal seminaries are filled with highly educated Bible scholars who have multiple doctorates, can quote Scripture in the original languages, etc.  But if they have no faith in Christ, all their knowledge is meaningless.  It’s vanity.  It doesn’t matter who much you know if you don’t first know Jesus.
    2. That’s not an excuse not to know anything at all.  We are most definitely to study the Bible, but we must do so from the foundation of faith.  It’s only when we know Christ that we can truly understand the word of God at all.

40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

  1. What was the problem?  It was a matter of the will.  God was perfectly willing to save them through Christ.  They were not willing to go through Christ to be saved.  God had provided everything they needed to know of Jesus and go to Him for salvation (vs. 34: “that you may be saved”).  The hang-up wasn’t with God; it was with themselves.  God provided the testimony – they had to choose to believe it.  They had to choose to respond to it.  If they weren’t willing to do it, then they would never have “life.”
  2. Faith involves the will…are you willing?  We’ve said it before: everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go through Jesus to get there.  They love their sin more than they love salvation.  They would rather perish in their rebellion than to surrender themselves to God.  God does give us that choice.  He gives us the choice to respond to His loving offer of grace, or to turn away from Him and perish.  No one in hell will ever be able to honestly claim that it’s God’s fault they are there.  God has already graciously reached out to us; we need to be willing to respond to Him.

41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.

  1. Other Bible versions translate vs. 41 more accurately when they use the word “glory” instead of “honor.”  The word is δόξα, from where we get “doxology” & usually speaks of the brightness, splendor, and glory of God.  We often use it when describing worship.  Obviously Jesus is worshipped by men, and will be worshipped by men and women throughout eternity.  We will be among those giving Him glory.  But that’s not the idea here.  The whole context has been the various testimonies concerning Jesus.  All these witnesses have pointed to Christ so that people might believe and be saved (though the people weren’t willing).  This wasn’t egotistical on Jesus’ part.  He wasn’t seeking honor or glory for His benefit.  He didn’t need the approval of the Jews to have a valid ministry.  That kind of glory/honor was unnecessary.  Jesus wasn’t seeking it out, nor did He receive any.
    1. It goes back to the idea that God is God & we’re not.  We don’t give God permission or approval to do anything.  For instance, we have to be willing to go to Jesus to be saved, but we don’t give permission for God to save us.  God already extended HIS permission when He extended His invitation.  We simply respond to what He has already done.  We don’t give the Holy Spirit “permission” to come into our lives and fill us with His presence; we ask the Holy Spirit to fill us in submission to the will of God for us.
  2. Even if Jesus did receive honor from men, it wouldn’t have mattered because these men wouldn’t honor Him anyway.  Jesus knew them, and He knew they didn’t have faith in God.  True faith in God would be demonstrated by the existence of the love of God within them.  It’s part of the fruit of the Spirit, and it’s something that God generates within all those who have faith in Christ.  Question: is this the love we have for God, or the love of God that we have for others?  Yes. J  The grammar could go either way, but the overall point is the same.  The only reason the love of God exists in our heart is because of the work of God that He has accomplished in our salvation.  1 John 4:7–9, "(7) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (8) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (9) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." .  If we know God, we will love God.  If we love God, we will love as God loves.  It’s all part of the transformation that takes place in our lives when we are born again.  The love that you believe is impossible to extend to others becomes possible because it’s not borne of you, but of God.
  3. This was how Jesus knew they didn’t have any faith: they didn’t have any love.  Jesus knows the difference.  He knows our hearts.  Remember that He was speaking to Jewish scholars and authorities.  They could put on a religious appearance, but they couldn’t change their insides.  Jesus could see their hearts and know they knew nothing of God.

43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.

  1. Jesus wasn’t received by the Jews, but there would be others in the future that would be.  False messiahs and other imposters would come in promoting themselves, and they would be received, but not Jesus.  Why?  Because people prefer the darkness rather than the light. (Jn 3:19).  Of course this isn’t only a problem among the ancient Jews.  Churches do this same thing when they exchange the truth for a lie.  When they depart from the gospel of grace to preach a gospel of works… When they seek out emotional highs and miracles for the sake of entertainment, rather than the Giver of miracles, Jesus… When churches reject the truth of Jesus to embrace false teaching is when churches give into this same trap.  All of the stuff can be clothed in “spirituality” and still have nothing to do with Christ.
  2. Jesus had the testimony of God, yet that wasn’t good enough.  People wanted the flash – they wanted the flesh-driven testimony of men.  In the process, they left themselves open to all kinds of deception.

44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?

  1. Good question!  True saving faith is impossible without seeking the true God (Heb 11:6).  The Jews were too busy trying to impress one other than to seek the true glory of God.  (Beware that you don’t miss out on what’s most important!)

45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.

  1. So what happens to the Jews after they’ve rejected the true testimonies of Jesus and sought out false glory and honor?  Like everyone else, they will have to stand before God at the judgment, and they will find themselves condemned.  Jesus already spoke of the judgment, saying that He has the authority to judge (5:27).  What He adds here is that He won’t be the only person that the Jews will see there.  They will also see Moses – the foundational prophet of the Hebrews.  It was his writings in the Scriptures in which the Jews looked for life.  What they will discover in that future day is that Moses will not defend them through the Scriptures; he will accuse them.  Why?  Vs. 46…

46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

  1. Why will Moses accuse the Jews?  Because although they studied his writings, they didn’t believe what he wrote.  They would find themselves condemned by the same Scriptures that they trusted for their eternal life.
  2. How so?  Moses wrote the law, and the Jews put their hope in the law and the covenant they had with God.  However, the law points us to Jesus; it’s not a replacement for Him.  The law shows us our need for salvation and (when rightly used) causes us to fall upon the mercy and grace of God through Jesus.  Without Jesus, the law does nothing except leave us condemned before God.  That’s no different with us than it was for the Jews.  Moses didn’t (and couldn’t) save them because that wasn’t his role.  John 1:17, "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." .  Certainly Moses wrote about the coming grace of God through Jesus, but every bit of it was demonstrated through the law.  For instance, it wasn’t the sacrifices that saved the Hebrews, it was the grace of God – but the sacrifices continually reminded them of their sin and need for grace.  It was all pointing the Hebrews to Jesus, but the Jews didn’t see it because they became caught up in their legalism and trying to prove themselves worthy in their own eyes.
  3. Even beyond the wrong use of the law was a simple lack of faith in what was written.  Keep in mind that the OT is filled with prophecies and direct references to Christ.  If the Jews had truly believed the writings of Moses (and the other prophets), then they would have been longing for the coming Messiah and rejoiced when Jesus finally came.  But they didn’t believe Moses, so they didn’t believe Jesus.  If they didn’t believe Jesus, then they couldn’t be saved.

So many witnesses had been given!  So many credible sources gave testimony to the Jews that Jesus is the Son of God.  John the Baptist – the works and miracles of Jesus – God the Father – the Holy Scriptures – all testified that Jesus is the Son of God, sent by Him to save the world (and to judge it in the last day).  It should have been so plain to the Jews, but they rejected the testimonies given them.  They were left without excuse.

Far as much as the Jews received, we have been given far more!  We have not only the Old Testament with all of its prophecies, types, and pictures…we have the historical fulfillment in Jesus.  We have the completed cross and resurrection.  We have the ongoing testimony of the Holy Spirit.  We have the full canon of Scripture.  We’ve heard the gospel in so many ways that we’ve lost count.  We live in a culture that is simultaneously saturated with the gospel, and soundly rejects it.  Surely we have far fewer excuses than the Jews of Jesus’ day.

What will it take for you to believe?  All the needed testimony has been given.  God has reached out in a myriad of ways that He never had to do.  But He did it anyway in His great love for us.  Make the choice to believe.  Bend your will to the will of God, that you might be saved.  That is God’s will for your life, but you have to respond to Jesus in faith.

For those who are already Christian, is our faith grounded on the factual reality of Jesus?  Do we trust the testimony of God regarding His Son?

If so, how’s your witness?  We can point people to Christ, or away from Him.  May we be mindful of our own mission and calling to testify of the Risen Son of God.


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