Hello everyone. The blog will be a little bit earlier tonight. The roommate and I are going out tonight due to the generosity of a friend of ours from church who is enabling us to go see a murder mystery play. Before we tackle that mystery, I shall write tonight about the mystery of the question of who the Son of Man is. We’re going through the New Testament now looking for clues of the Trinity and the self-understanding of Christ and right now, we’re in the gospel of John. Tonight, we’ll be looking at John 5:31-40.
31“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32There 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. 34Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35John 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. 37And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39You diligently study[c] the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
In the Jewish system, there was a legal requirement that a matter had to be settled by two witnesses. Thus, Jesus has made some extraordinary claims up to this point and he is going to be making his defense. Let’s keep that in mind. He wasn’t making self-abasing claims for which he would not need to call forth witnesses really. Witnesses would be called for extraordinary claims. Jesus has spoken much about himself, but why should the unbelieving audience take his words as is?
The first one is John the Baptist. Jesus says that the Baptist pointed to him but then says “Not that I accept human testimony.” This would indeed have to be a grandiose claim. Jesus is setting himself up in some way above humanity. Of course, he was fully human but he was not merely human.
He then points to the Father as testifying through the works that Jesus was doing. The miracles were not done just to attract a crowd. The miracles were done to point to the nature of the kingdom. He then says that the Father has testified of him and tells the Jews that they have never heard his voice or seen his form.
Implication? Christ has.
Do we really stop when we read the gospels to consider the claims that Christ is making and how unique they are? We’ve become so familiar with them that the story is just a story. Instead, it is the greatest story of all and should hold us in wonder. Consider what the incarnation means. God the Son, who needed nothing, knew no suffering, and already had an existence of complete joy, took on the human nature that you live with, though not with its sinfulness of course. He entered a world of suffering and pain and death and took upon himself the worst of it. Why? It cannot be need. It can only be want. John 3:16 does say it best. It’s because he loved the world.
Shame on us for not being in awe.
Yet there is another way the Father has spoken and that is in Scripture. Jesus tells them that they are diligently studying them for they think that by them, they have eternal life, yet the Scriptures testify of Christ and they do not come to him for eternal life.
Let’s consider this.
First off, Jesus is saying that the Bible talks about him. Again, either this claim is true or it’s totally false and Jesus would either be the ultimate deceiver or on a major ego-trip. Second, he claims to be the one who can give eternal life. He is greater than the Scriptures. Coming to them cannot give eternal life. Coming to him can.
Tomorrow, we shall close out this chapter.