Today’s passage: John 5:31–47
Focus verse: “There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.” (John 5:32)
In the Old Testament of the Bible, Moses writes that one witness is insufficient. To prove a point requires two or, even better, three testimonies.
The context is someone who has committed a crime, but the principle of needing multiple witnesses to confirm a matter carries through to the New Testament.
Though two are good, three are better. The Bible often repeats concepts three times for emphasis, to make a point, such as saying God is “holy, holy, holy” (Revelation 4:8).
Jesus tells people he is the Savior. He is the Messiah they’ve been expecting. Often, he is indirect, such as when talking to the Samaritan woman. Other times, he is more direct, such as in Mark 14:61–62.
Yet, he also acknowledges that what he says about himself doesn’t carry much weight. Though we believe Jesus is the Son of God and value everything he says, a skeptic won’t accept what Jesus says about himself.
Jesus understands this. He calls three witnesses to give testimony to who he is.
Remember the poetic opening to the book of John? In this we have reference to the first testimony for Jesus. John the Baptist came as a witness to testify about the light—that is, Jesus—so that the people will believe (John 1:7).
John later calls Jesus the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Next, he confirms Jesus is God’s Chosen One (John 1:34). Jesus reminds the people what John said about him. John is his first witness.
Though the Bible says John the Baptist is the greatest person to ever live (Matthew 11:11), Jesus has an even more weighty testimony than John. Jesus points to the spoken words of God.
After John baptizes Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus and a voice booms from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22). Father God supplies the second testimony for Jesus.
As if the testimonies of John and God aren’t enough, Jesus reminds the people that Scripture is full of references to his coming. Though the religious leaders study their sacred texts with diligence, they refuse to accept what it says about Jesus.
Yet the Bible provides us with the third witness for Jesus.
Based on the three testimonies about Jesus from John the Baptist, Father God, and the Bible, the people can accept with confidence that Jesus is who he says he is. And so can we.
- What do you think about worshipping God as holy, holy, holy?
- What do you think about John the Baptist being the greatest person to ever live?
- How can you give a testimony for Jesus?
- How well does your life back up your words?
- How well do people accept what you say about Jesus?
Discover more about having multiple witnesses in Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, John 8:17, 2 Corinthians 13:1, and 1 Timothy 5:19. What insights can you glean from these passages?
Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.
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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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