[Oct 22]--Testimony

John 5:31-47

            In Jesus’ conversation with the religious leaders, one word keeps coming up: testimony. This is a really important word, not just in its definition but the context behind it. Moses commanded that no one could be accused except on the basis on two or three witnesses, so this formed the background that other claims (other than legal accusations) had to have two/three witnesses as well. Anyone could claim anything, so they would need witnesses to add credibility.

            Jesus had (implicitly) claimed God as his Father (see the discussion a couple of days ago), and the religious leaders wanted proof. Again, anyone could claim anything. You also need to keep in mind how radical this assertion was. Eastern religions tend to be pretty liberal with linking humanity with divinity: “You are god, I am god, this rock is god, everything is god.” But these were Jews, and to them God is unique and separated from his creation. Of all the ancient people, these folks would be the least likely to confuse the Creator with creation. So if someone claimed to be God incarnate, this would be blasphemy of the basest kind (unless, of course, it was true).

            So what proof did he offer? Who else pointed to Jesus was divine? First, there was the Father’s testimony, offered at Jesus’ baptism. This was public, in fact one of his first public appearances. Second, there was the testimony of John the Baptist. He'd repeatedly asserted that Jesus was God’s Son. I spent over a week in August focusing on the Baptist, and his whole raison d'etre was to point others towards Jesus as Savior and Lord. Third there were his works/miracles/signs. As I mentioned before, these were greater than the miracles that Moses and the prophets performed, both in scale and in purpose. Elijah resuscitated a boy who'd been dead for a few hours, while Jesus raised a man who'd been in the grave for four days.  Elisha provided food for a hundred men from 20 loaves of bread, while Jesus fed over 5,000 men with less. But it was more than the scale involved. These signs, I’m convinced, pointed to Christ’s divinity because he was doing what his Father was doing all the time (as we discussed a couple of days ago on the 20th).

            The final witness which Jesus submitted was the word of God itself, which would of course be what we call the Old Testament, particularly the books of Moses. If you ever needed a reason to study the Old Testament, this is it. If you read the Prophets, he’s there. If you read the Historical books like Joshua and Judges, he’s there. Yes, even Moses wrote about him. It’s important to note that, of all Jesus’ confrontational claims and condemnations, this last one would be the most shocking. The religious leaders put their hopes in Moses. He was considered the greatest prophet, the greatest link between man and God that there ever was. But according to Jesus, Moses’ main purpose was to point to Jesus.

            So what does this mean to me? I’m a believer; I’ve placed my trust in Christ. I don’t need to be convinced that he’s God, since I know it already. I guess the main application I can see here is that I need to regain this sense of the authority of Jesus. He’s God’s Son. The Father, John the Baptist, his works, and the Scriptures all testify as one on this issue. I can trust him, and I need to obey him. If you wanted a practical application, there it is.

Lord Jesus, you're so deserving of all my praise, my trust, my obedience, and my worship. I believe that you’re God in my theology, but I don’t demonstrate that belief very well. Please help me to change that.

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