23
September
2018

JOHN 5:31-35 THREE WITNESSES TO THE FACT THAT JESUS IS GOD

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John 5:31 "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 "There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. 33 "You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 "Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 "He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

In this section of scripture we will begin to see the first three of 5 witnesses to the Fact that Jesus is God.  The Disciple John will speak of Jesus’ witness, the Father’s witness, and also John the Baptist’s witness.  Even though Jesus does not need to prove He is God, He is accommodating us (mankind) because we are so unbelieving and hardhearted.  He wants to give us every chance of knowing the truth so we can believe and be saved.  He also does it so that there will be no excuses when we stand before Him if we have not believed and are being sent to hell.  God says in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (NKJV) Have you trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  If not, do it today.

The word Witness is used 136 times in NT; John uses 77 times, verses 31-39 used 11 times

Witness of Jesus

31 "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.

The Old Testament law required two or three witnesses (see Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15) for a man to be found guilty of an offense. Jesus has much more testimony than this, but it doesn’t matter since the Jewish authorities are determined not to accept it

 De 17:6 "Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.

De 19:15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.

There is a marginal note in the NASB, which informs the reader that “true” should be understood as “admissible as legal evidence.”

‘If my testimony concerning myself,’ says he, ‘is suspected by you according to the ordinary custom of men, let it go for nothing.’ Now we know that what any man asserts about himself is not reckoned to be true and authentic, although in other respects he speak truth, because no man is a competent witness in his own cause. Though it would be unjust to reduce the Son of God to this rank, yet he prefers to surrender his right, that he may convince his enemies by the authority of God.” John Calvin,

While the Jewish authorities seek to give the impression that they are sticklers for observing the letter of the law, actually they are not. When our Lord stands trial for His life, they employ false witnesses who give conflicting testimony, and yet no objection is raised (Matthew 26:60). The high priest illegally demands that Jesus give testimony about (against) Himself, and then condemns Him on the basis of His testimony (Matthew 26:63). These Jews seek neither justice or truth.

14 So when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone (John 6:14-15).

Witness of The Father

  32 "There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. The word another means another one just like him (exactly Like) as in John 14:16 where Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit coming and being just like Him. When Jesus says He bears witness, it means it is a continual action according to the Greek. Mt 3:17 His baptism, 17:5, - transfiguration 27; 51-54 –crucified.  All the Old Testament

Witness of John - 1:19, 29,

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

John the Baptist is a very popular fellow, a man many believe to be a prophet (Matthew 11:9; 14:5; 21:26, 46). Jesus reminds the Jewish authorities of their own high regard for John, when they “sent to John” (John 5:33). Initially, I read John 1:19-28 as an interrogation of John by the Jewish authorities, one carried out with considerable suspicion. Jesus seems to say otherwise. His words in our text seem to indicate that their “sending men” to John is their own “testimony” concerning John’s authority. In John 1, the Jews are really trying to “put words into John’s mouth.” They want John to admit that he is Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet. John is the one insisting otherwise.

If I understand Jesus (and John 1:19-28) correctly, for a short time the Jews actually wanted John to be the Messiah. This would explain our Lord’s words in Matthew regarding the Jews and John: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matthew 11:12, NIV).

The Jews are literally trying to force the kingdom into existence, and for a time they try to force John to become their Messiah. In the very next chapter of John’s Gospel, the Jews want to force Jesus to become their king:

Late in our Lord’s earthly ministry, the Jews challenge Jesus to prove His authority. Our Lord’s answer, and the Jews’ response, demonstrates the high regard the people have for John:

27 They came again to Jerusalem. While Jesus was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the experts in the law and the elders came to him 28 and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 John’s baptism, was it from heaven or from men? Answer me.” 31 They discussed with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men—’” (they feared the crowd, for they all considered John to be truly a prophet). 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things” (Mark 11:27-33; see also Matthew 11:25; Luke 20:4).

 

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

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

Ps 132:17 There I will make the horn of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed. Witness of Works  Is 35:4-6 Works only Jesus could accomplish

Early in John’s ministry, the Jews are eager for John to be the Messiah. In our Lord’s words, they “rejoiced greatly for a short time in his light” (John 5:35). But when it becomes apparent that John rejects their religious system (Matthew 3:7-10; 21:32; Mark 3:15), and worse yet, identifies with Jesus as the Messiah he promised would come (John 1:29-36), just as quickly they abandon him. 

They liked the light; it was the heat of His burning for Jesus that drove them away