John 5:30-38 “Jesus calls His witnesses”
Introduction: Jesus has been on trial in this chapter accused of having broken the Sabbath and of blaspheme. He is not guilty of either of these crimes. He has explained to these Jewish leaders who are judging Him how things work between God the Father and God the Son. He has explained to them about the Son being the judge of all men. He explained to them the greater works which they would see the Son do. They would see the dead raised to life. They will in the future see all those who are in the graves come forth some to eternal life and some to damnation. Jesus is the Son and now calls His witnesses to testify on His behalf to prove to these judges that He is the Son of God.
(John 5:30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Jesus had explained this to them earlier. Jesus only does what the Father shows Him and tells Him. Every word spoken by Jesus was the words of His Father. To do His own will against the wishes of His Father would have been sin. Jesus is the one who know no sin yet became sin for us.
Jesus had explained to them that He is the judge of all. He will hear the case of men and according to what He hears He will judge. His verdict will be just because it will be in accordance with the will of His Father.
(John 5:31) If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
In this verse Jesus reminds them of a truth that is found in the Law of Moses. If a man saw or was witness to a murder and came before the judge and testified of what he saw and there was no other witness of the crime then his testimony was to be treated as if it were not true. A man could not be condemned by the witness of one person. There had to be two or three witnesses which had to agree in order for a man to be condemned. Jesus will be tried by the counsel and they will have trouble getting two witnesses to agree. Jesus does bear witness of Himself and His witness is true but under the Law it will not be counted as true unless there is another witness which will agree with His testimony.
(John 5:32) There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
Jesus promises them a second witness which will verify His testimony. He does not expect them to release Him on His testimony alone for this would be against the Law of Moses. Jesus here does not tell them plainly who this witness is but gives a hint to them. The second witness, the one who will vindicate Jesus, is God the Father. Jesus has told them that He is the Son of God. They want to kill Jesus for blaspheming. Jesus must have another witness to establish his testimony as true. He says “There is another” There are two words for “another” in the Greek language. There is one that means “another of the same kind” and there is one that means “another of a different kind.” Jesus is referring to God the Father for He is God just as Jesus is God. He is “another of the same kind.”
(John 5:33) Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
The next witness to be called is John the Baptist. Back in chapter one the Jews sent men to interrogate John as to who he was. He told them that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness which came to prepare the way of the Lord. He was not Elijah nor was he the Christ. He told them about Jesus that He was the lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. He told them plainly that Jesus was the Son of God. But Jesus rejects this witness. He has no need of this witness for He as a greater witness than John the Baptist.
(John 5:34) But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
Jesus praised John the Baptist as being the greatest man to live. He was a great prophet and he did the work assigned to him with great zeal. He was the forerunner of the Christ and he prepared the hearts of the people to receive their Savior. Many people repented of their sins and were saved when the heard the message of John the Baptist. Jesus does not need the testimony of John for there are two more witnesses which are greater than John. Jesus called John the greatest of men but the two witnesses which Jesus calls next are greater than John.
Jesus is not here telling them these things in order to be found innocent and not be put to death. He is innocent and will not be killed. Jesus has no fear of these judges. They are trying to kill Jesus but He is trying to save them. God is not willing that any should perish not even His worst enemies. He wants all men to repent and be saved. The very purpose of the book of John is that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ and that believing they might have life in His name. Jesus wants to save these men and will if they repent.
(John 5:35) He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
Even the Jews thought that John was great. Even when they found out that He was not the Christ they rejoiced. Many of them came to be baptized by John and wanted to be a part of his ministry.
(John 5:36) But I have greater witness than [that] of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
The next witness is the works which Jesus does. In chapter three Nicodemus had concluded that Jesus was from God simply because of the works which He did. Nicodemus was willing to believe in Jesus with only the testimony of one witness that being the works which Jesus did. These alone combined with what the prophets had foretold should have been enough for them all to believe.
Jesus healed a man who had been lame for 38 years. Jesus had done many wonderful works. He healed the Nobleman’s son. He turned water into wine. He healed the sick and raised the dead, cured the blind, cleansed the lepers, fed the thousands, walked on water, cast out demons, and calmed the storm. These works are an outstanding display of the power of God. No man can do these things unless God is with him.
They could say of John that he was just a man and that he could have said anyone was the Christ. But the works which Jesus did are not easily explained. These miracles are done by the power of God. They will say that Jesus casts out demons by the power of Satan. They said this with no explanation as to why Satan would do any good thing for mankind. Satan never has done anything good to or for mankind. It is against his nature.
The teachings of Jesus are love and peace and gentle and meek and kind and longsuffering. His works are works of love and compassion. Everything about Jesus reflects the image of a loving and caring God. His works proclaim that He is the Christ the Savior of men.
(John 5:37) And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
God the Father had borne witness of Jesus. Through the prophets of old He had told men exactly what Jesus would do and where He would be borne and when He would be born. God the Father even told men that His Son would be rejected of men. He would be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. God the Father told the men through the prophets that His son would die but would not see corruption. He told men through the prophets that He would not leave His Son in the grave. He told us that His Son would come and heal the sick and the lame. He said “surely He hath borne our grief and carried our sorrows.” God the Father had even spoken to the men of Jesus day when Jesus was baptized the Father announced that “this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The Father truly had borne witness of His Son.
These Jewish leaders had never seen God the Father nor had they heard His voice. God had never spoken audibly to them. God had never shown them a manifestation of Himself. Moses Had seen the glory of God and some of the Elders of Israel had seen God manifest. Joshua, Isaiah, Ezekiel, all got to see a manifestation of God. God spoke to everyone else by His prophets. These Jewish leaders were not privileged to be prophets of God. They had only the Scriptures to rely upon for the truth about God.
(John 5:38) And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Jesus has, up to this point, been the accused at this trial but now He becomes the accuser. These men claimed to speak for God. They taught men from the scriptures. The only revelation they had from God was His word. Jesus asked them about eight times if they had ever read the scriptures. These men did not understand the scriptures and they miss applied what they did know. They were in religion for the show of it. Their hearts were not right with God. The Father had given them in His word all they would need that they might know who the Christ was and what He would do. These men did not believe in the Christ. They rejected Jesus and without excuse. Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews who Heard the witness of the Father and believed the preaching of John the Baptist and heard the testimony of the works of Jesus and he believed.
What will you do with the testimony of God the Father concerning His Son? What will you do with the testimony of John which tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world? What will you do with the witness of the marvelous works of Jesus? Will you hear these and will you believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and believing have life through His name?