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Faithlife

Witnesses

The Gospel of John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus shows 4 witnesses that He is of God

Notes & Transcripts
John 5:30–47 ESV
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
-47Pray

Witnesses

Pray
Whenever our reputable news organizations realize the story they are reporting seems too outrageous to be true, they try to find an “eyewitness” to collaborate the story. Someone who saw the events of the story. Someone who can confirm the reports because they saw it. We have come to expect eyewitness accounts in many ways. When a hurricane is about to make landfall, don’t we expect to see some insane Weather Channel person standing in the wind? If there is a structure fire, don’t we expect the TV news to have a crew there? Even when there is an accident on the interstates, we are given images from the traffic cams to confirm that traffic is indeed a mess. Witnesses are important to establish truth, aren’t they?
Now, imagine with me for a moment that you are in ancient Israel, somewhere around 32 A.D. And you start to hear stories of a man who is healing people. He has been said to make blind people see, lame people walk, and lepers clean. Are you skeptical? You should be. These are fantastic, even unbelievable stories. If I heard those stories, I would want to hear from one of those who had been healed, wouldn’t you? In fact, I would probably want to hear from more than 1 of those. According to - “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. So not just 1 witness, but at least 2 and better 3 witnesses are needed to establish a charge.
And what if you also hear that this man is claiming to be the Son of God? What if you hear that He is claiming to have come directly from heaven? What kind of witness would it take to confirm these claims? It’s not like any human can SEE that these are true. What kind of witness can confirm these claims? John records 4 such witnesses in the verses I read a moment ago.
Once again, I am preaching through the Gospel according to John. It is the weird one of the 4 Gospels in our Bible. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke record the life of Jesus in an sequential, orderly way, John is writing with a different purpose. He is still recording the life of Jesus, but not necessarily in a sequential way. He tells us that his purpose is different in
John 20:30–31 ESV
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
-31The whole point of this Gospel is to convince us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised Hope of Israel. And, that by believing in Him, we might have life. So, each and every passage points us back to Jesus and asks the simple question, “Do you now believe?” As we come to this passage at the end of Chapter 5, we need to remember what comes before. We saw the story of the man being healed at the pool at Bethesda on the Sabbath day. The Jewish leaders started to come out against Jesus because it happened on the Sabbath. Last week, we saw that Jesus’ response pointed back to His Father. Jesus wanted everyone to know that He was at work revealing the Father. The Father is revealed as Jesus joins in the Father’s work. He is revealed as Jesus gives life instead of judgement and as Jesus gives life instead of death. But when Jesus says He is revealing the Father, why should we believe Him? Today, we will see 4 witnesses that confirm Jesus is truly the Son of God. The 1st witness to Jesus is the Father Himself.

Witnesses

The whole point of this Gospel is to convince us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised Hope of Israel. And, that by believing in Him, we might have life. So, each and every passage points us back to Jesus and asks the simple question, “Do you now believe?” As we come to this passage at the end of Chapter 5, we need to remember what comes before. We saw the story of the man being healed at the pool at Bethesda on the Sabbath day. The Jewish leaders started to come out against Jesus because it happened on the Sabbath. Last week, we saw that Jesus’ response pointed back to His Father. Jesus wanted everyone to know that He was at work revealing the Father. The Father is revealed as Jesus joins in the Father’s work. He is revealed as Jesus gives life instead of judgement and as Jesus gives life instead of death. But when Jesus says He is revealing the Father, why should we believe Him? Today, we will see 4 witnesses that confirm Jesus is truly the Son of God. The 1st witness to Jesus is the Father Himself.
1. -32John5:37-38The Father is witness
John 5:30–32 ESV
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
-32John5:37-38The Father is witness
John 5:37–38 ESV
And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
John5:37-38The Father is witness

The Father is witness

1.1. As Jesus expounds on His work, he makes it clear that He cannot do anything unless it is the will of the Father. But Jesus says He knows that He cannot be a witness for Himself, yet He knows of a witness that bears testimony about Him and that this witness’ testimony is true. And there is only one person in the entire universe that we can guarantee to be always truthful. And that person is God Himself, or as Jesus is talking about here, His Father God.
1.2. Now this feels a little bit like circular logic, but you have to put yourself back in the ancient world. Today, we talk more about Jesus as the person who saves. We pray in the name of Jesus. We remember Jesus on the cross. And we remember the empty tomb of Jesus. But in the 1st Century it wasn’t that way. Jesus’ message was growing, but to a Jew, God was the one who provided all. So, for Jesus to say that God was the one who is the witness would be radical. It would be almost heretical. The Jewish leaders would certainly not like that Jesus said He knew both God’s witness and that the witness was true. In their eyes, Jesus would be saying He knows as much as God. And they would have been very angry at such a claim. The 1st witness of Jesus is God the Father and the 2nd is John the Baptist.
John 5:33–35 ESV
You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
-35John the Baptist is a witness

John the Baptist is a witness

2.1. If you recall, back in chapter 1 the Jews had sent messengers to inquire of John the Baptist why he was doing the things he was doing. He replied that he was not the Christ, but there was one coming whose sandals he was not worthy to untie. And the next day, John saw Jesus and called Him, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. They asked John if he were the Christ and he replied, in essence, but pointing them to the true Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
2.2. Now Jesus reminds the Jews that they had inquired of John who witnessed to the truth. John had told them that Jesus was the one. And they thought that was a good message for a time. They rejoiced in the bright light of John’s message until Herod killed him. The Jews had asked for, and received, a human witness, but they were not satisfied with the testimony of John.
2.3. And it is quite possible that the testimony of John was not enough to testify to Christ. After all, Jesus goes on in the following verses to talk about another witness. The 1st witness of Jesus is God the Father, the 2nd is john the Baptist, and the 3rd is the works.
John 5:36 ESV
But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
:36The works are witness

The works are witness

3.1. The very works Jesus is doing are an indication that He is indeed from God. After all, who but an agent of God can make the lame walk? The blind see? The lepers be cleansed? The works testify that Jesus is from God. They testify that He is indeed the Christ. They testify that He is the Son of God. So, we have 3 witnesses, God the Father, John the Baptist, and the works that Jesus is doing. Are you convinced yet? There is one more witness and this witness is one many of you are holding in your hand right now. It is the Word of God, the Scriptures.
John 5:39–47 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
-47Scriptures are a witness.

Scriptures are a witness.

4.1. The words Jesus uses here are almost harsh. He accuses the Jews of searching the Scriptures to find salvation, but they are missing the point. Salvation is not found by searching and knowing the Scriptures. Rather, salvation is given by the living God who sends His only Son. And the Scriptures are about exactly that. From Genesis to the maps the Scriptures really only have one subject, Jesus. Whether it is the books of history in the Old Testament that reveal just how inept mankind is in keeping a covenant with the living God, to the books of poetry that reveal the heart of man as he fails God again and again, to the major prophets that declare God’s wrath on the impetitent to the minor prophets that declare the need for man to return to their Creator. The Scriptures that the first readers of the Gospel of John knew show the need for Jesus. And we are blessed to have the New Testament that shows how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
4.2. But let’s be careful. We, as Baptists, are often called the people of the Book. But we must not be people of the Book if we ignore the very thing the Book is about. Look at verse 39 again. They thought they would find life by searching the Scriptures. They thought they would find salvation in the Scriptures. But the Scriptures are about Jesus. Now I believe - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. But if you are counting on your knowledge of the Bible to be your salvation, you have missed the point of the Bible. Jesus is the only one who saves. Not your knowledge of Scripture. I believe Scripture will change you. It will convince you. It will convict you. But Scripture cannot save you. Only Jesus can do that.
4.3. The Jews couldn’t lift their eyes from the Scriptures long enough to see Jesus standing right in front of them. They weren’t upset that Jesus was doing the miracles. What they were upset about was that He claimed to come straight from God. If He had said, “I am a prophet of God from Nazareth.” They would have welcomed Him, but He claimed to be on par with God and this is what upset them so much.
4.4. Then Jesus tells them that He doesn’t need to condemn them at all. The very Scriptures they are clinging to are what will condemn them. They thought by obeying the law of Moses, the 10 Commandments, they would be saved by their own work. But they can’t even do that perfectly. And neither can we. When we compare our lives to the 10 Commandments we know we come up short. And it is those very words of Moses that condemn us. Just as Jesus asked in - But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
4.5. In chapter 1 we saw that Jesus is the living Word of God. And Jesus asks, if you don’t believe the written words, how can you believe the words of the subject of those words? Here is the thing. We all stand condemned before our perfect Creator.

Gospel

a) - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
b) - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
c) - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
d) - because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
4.6. Did you hear anything in that short Gospel presentation that said search the Scriptures for your salvation? Me either. I believe a Christian should want to know the Scriptures. I believe if you commit yourself to following someone, you should know as much about that person as possible. And the best way to learn about Jesus is to study the Scriptures. But don’t mistake the importance of studying the Scriptures with the salvation that only Jesus can provide.
Wrapping up this message, we have looked at 4 witnesses to Jesus, God the Father, John the Baptist, the words of Jesus, and the Scriptures. In the beginning of this sermon I quoted from - “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. And now we see that Jesus went above even the standards that Moses laid down by providing 4 witnesses that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Do you believe these witnesses? Will you commit the rest of your days to following Jesus?
Let’s PRAY…
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