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Jesus has a focus. He isn’t trying to be popular. He wants us to be saved from a life of not meeting God’s goal for our life. That is his focus.

  • Jesus is direct to challenge us come to God.
  • He shows us with supernatural miracles what God wants to do.
  • Jesus shows us God’s heart.
  • Jesus shows us God’s love and kindness.

Do we hear what He is saying? Will we be saved?

Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 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. [1]

John 5:34-38

The word witness is a key word in John’s Gospel; it is used forty-seven times. Jesus did bear witness to Himself, but He knew they would not accept it; so He called in other witnesses.

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The first witness was John the Baptist, whom the religious leaders had interrogated carefully. In fact, at the very end of His ministry, our Master pointed the rulers back to the witness of John the Baptist. John knew who Jesus was and faithfully declared what he knew to the people of Israel. John told the people that Jesus was the Master, the Lamb of God, and the Son of God.

  • John was a “burning and a shining lamp”, and the Jewish people were excited about his ministry.
  • However, their enthusiasm cooled; and nobody lifted a finger to try to deliver John when he was arrested by Herod.
  • The leaders looked on John as a “local celebrity”, but they did not want to receive his message of repentance.
  • The publicans and sinners accepted John’s message and were converted, but the religious leaders refused to submit.

Whenever God raises up a spiritual leader who commands attention, there is always the danger of attracting people who want to bask in his popularity but not submit to his authority. A “mixed multitude” followed Moses and Israel out of Egypt, people who were impressed with the miracles but not yielded to Yahweh. The prophets and Apostles, as well as the great leaders in church history, all had to put up with shallow people who followed the crowd but refused to obey the truth. We have them in churches today.

Our Master’s second witness was the witness of His miracles. You will remember that John selected seven of these “signs” to include in his Gospel as proof that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus made it clear that His works were the works of the Father. Even Nicodemus had to admit that our Master’s miracles identified Him as “sent from God”.

Jesus indicated that the Father gave Him a specific ministry to finish while He was here on earth. “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). He was not only on a divine timetable, but He followed a divine agenda. He had specific works to accomplish in the Father’s will.

Since the Old Testament Law required the testimony of two or three witnesses, the Master met that requirement by giving three trustworthy witnesses.

The third and final witness our Master summoned was the Word of the Father. The Jewish people highly revered the written Word of God, particularly the Law that was given through Moses. Moses heard God’s voice and saw God’s glory; but we have that same voice and glory in the inspired Word of God. The Old Testament Scriptures bear witness to Jesus the Messiah, yet the people who received and preserved that Word were blind to their own Messiah. Why?

For one thing, they did not permit that Word to generate faith in their hearts. John 5:39 is probably a statement of fact and not a command and could be rendered: “Ye search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” The Jewish scribes sought to know the Word of God, but they did not know the God of the Word! They counted the very letters of the text, but they missed the spiritual truths that the text contained.[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 5:34–38). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 307–308). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.