John 5:31-47 New International Version (NIV)
Testimonies About Jesus
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study[a] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[b]?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
The dictionary term:
VERB (testifies, testifying, testified)
1Give evidence as a witness in a law court: he testified against his own commander: he testified that he had supplied Barry with stolen goods.
Serve as evidence or proof of something’s existing or being the case:
Jesus and the Pharisees are referring to Deuteronomy 19:15: "One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."
We find in today's passage that Jesus is trying to convince the Pharisees about who he is – that he is actually the Messiah. Jesus knows the law in Deuteronomy and he knows that his testimony isn’t enough and according to Jewish Law just one testimony isn’t valid. The Pharisees point this out to Jesus. But Jesus says well actually my testimony is valid, because there are two witnesses, Himself and God, which means that it is valid.
Remember that God spoke at Jesus’ baptism and told those listening that this was his son, with whom I love; with you I am well pleased (Luke 3:22) and in St Johns Gospel (1:32) John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.”
It must have been hard for the Pharisees to believe. At the time of Jesus there were others claiming to be the Messiah. So, why should they believe Jesus above all the others?
If we were in court and Jesus had been accused of a crime: would the judge just believe him? No – it would take many witnesses to prove or disprove what he had done.
Jesus knew who he was – He knew he was the son of God. Mary his mother must have talked about the day he was born. The day that the wise men visited. The day that Joseph and Mary took him to the Temple and the things that Simeon told Mary. He heard God at his baptism, he could perform miracles in God’s name.
He believed he was God’s son, otherwise why would he proclaim and testify that he was?
We have a choice either we believe his testimony – that he is the Son of God or we don’t believe him. If we don’t believe him then that makes him a liar, a bit crazy..
Remember though; Jesus shows compassion, care, and kindness for everyone. He also accepts his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane without a fight – he must have known this was the end.
Yet he didn’t change his testimony.
So, if we believe he wasn’t a liar or crazy then Jesus was the Son of God and his testimony about himself was true.
It’s interesting to note that when Jesus was brought to the High Priest, and then to Pilate he stood alone. After all the love he shared with others, the compassion he felt, the healings that happened, no-one stood with him nobody was there to testify for him and when given the opportunity to save him, the people turned against him.
Activity:This is a really great subject for either a family service or a confirmation class, or working with children in year 6 in RE.
As a church for our family service after Easter we used The Z-files: Resurrection by Neil Pugmire.
It uses the X-file theme with agents Mouldy and Skulker. They interview those who were at the resurrection, and each person is required to give their testimony and Mouldy and Skulker investigate whether their testimonies were true.
It is both challenging and fun.