Jesus was on trial before the Jewish leaders for healing

a man on the sabbath day and then telling the man to take up

his bed and walk.  The Jewish leaders charged Jesus with

breaking the law of the sabbath, which would carry the death


    Jesus answered the charges by saying that He is the Son

of God and that He was just doing the work which God the

Father had assigned Him to do.  He spoke of even greater

works which the Father had for Him to do in the future.

    In our text today Jesus speaks of those who witness on

His behalf.


I.  Jesus not counting on His own witness on behalf of



     V. 31, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not

true."  Jesus had already told them that He is the Son of

God and that He was doing the works which God had given Him

to do.  He readily acknowledges that His testimony on his

own behalf was not sufficient evidence to be accepted as

evidence in a court of law.  He said, "If I bear witness of

myself, my witness is not true."  That is, it is not

sufficient to be accepted as proof in a court of law.  The

law of Moses had established that in order for a matter to

be established in a court of law, the testimony of two or

three witnesses are required.

    Jesus did not expect the Jewish leaders to dismiss the

case against Him just because He claimed to be the Son of

God.  He recognized that they could not receive this

testimony alone as proof of His innocence.  Any radical

could claim to be the Son of God, and that claim, alone,

could not and should not be accepted as proof.  His claim

must be accepted by them as a plea of "Not guilty" to the

charges against Him, but it could not be accepted as proof

of His innocence.

    Witnesses must be heard and their testimony must be

evaluated as to whether or not they spoke the truth.  Jesus

said, "I have a witness."  V. 32, "There is another that

beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he

witnesseth of me is true."  Jesus had already born witness

of Himself and He knew that was not sufficient, but He says

in effect, "I have a witness who will tell you the truth and

His testimony will be proof that I am not guilty of the

charges."  Jesus was confident that if they would only

accept the truthfulness of this witness that they, too,

would see that He is not guilty.


II.  Jesus not counting on the witness of John the Baptist


    V. 33, "Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the

truth."  Jesus is saying in effect, "You have already heard

one witness who spoke on my behalf.  That witness was John

the Baptist.  Remember?  You sent a delegation to John the

Baptist and asked John if he is the Christ."  John answered,

"No, I am not the Christ."  Then the next day while that

delegation was still there, John pointed me out and said,

"Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the

world."  John then went on to say that God the Father had

told Him that he would see the Holy Spirit coming down on

one of the men whom he would baptize and that this person is

the Christ.  John the Baptist told you then, "I saw and bare

record that this is the Son of God.  If you had believed

John the Baptist, you would know that I have told you the


    V. 34, "But I receive not testimony from man..."  Jesus

said, "But John the Baptist is not the witness that I am

talking about.  I am talking about calling a witness who is

greater than John."

    Let me say that what Jesus said here about John the

Baptist was not in any way meant as a reflection on the work

of John the Baptist.  Jesus said on one occasion that among

the human race there had not risen a greater than John.  Nor

was what He said here intended to mean that John did not

render a useful service unto Him.  John had, indeed, aided

Him tremendously in getting His ministry off to a good

start. Jesus was not at all unappreciative of what John had

done.  But Jesus had a witness in mind who would present a

much more powerful testimony than any mere human could


    (V. 34), "...but these things I say, that ye might be

saved."  Jesus was not calling witnesses to His defense just

in order to avoid punishment from the Jewish leaders.

Rather, He was calling these things to their attention in

order that they might be saved.  They were trying to get Him

killed and He was trying to get them saved!  Jesus wanted

them to know that He is the Son of God in order that they

might be saved!

    I think that He spoke here about His desire to save ---

not only those Jewish leaders who were trying to kill Him

---but also all of the great crowd of people who had

gathered to listen.  I think also that in His great

foreknowledge He knew about lost men, women, boys and girls

of our day and said those things that they might be recorded

and used to win people in our day to salvation.  Jesus wants

all lost people to be saved.

    Jesus continues to speak briefly about John the Baptist.

V. 35, "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were

willing for a season to rejoice in his light."  When John

was so popular and drawing great crowds of people even the

Jewish leaders regarded him very highly.  They considered

the possibility that John might be the Christ.  When he

denied being the Christ, they still rejoiced in his message

about the soon coming of the Christ.

    But their joy in John was short lived.  It was only for

a short season.  When John announced that Jesus of Nazareth

is the Christ, they soon lost confidence in him.


III.  Jesus counting on the witness of God the Father


    V. 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."  Actually, the chief witness on which Jesus

relies is God the Father.  He was counting on God the Father

to bear testimony that He is His Son, the Christ.

    Technically, Jesus speaks of His works as His witness.

He calls them "...the works which the Father hath given me

to finish..."  He speaks of such things as healing the sick,

causing the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to

hear, the dumb to speak and raising the dead to life again.

Even the healing of the man on the sabbath day was a work

which testified that He is the Christ.  That man had been

afflicted for 38 years and Jesus had healed him instantly.

All of these miracles were such that no ordinary man could

do.  Only God could do these miracles.  Therefore, surely He

is the Son of God.

    V. 37, "And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath

borne witness of me..."  In addition to empowering Him to do

the miracles, God the Father had personally witnessed on

behalf of Jesus.  For example, at the baptism of Jesus, God

the Father sent the Holy Spirit down from heaven in the form

of a dove to abide on Jesus.  Also God the Father spoke from

heaven and said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well


    Then in the later part of this verse Jesus said

something which seems at first to contradict what He had

said in the first part of the verse.  But when you consider

what He meant, He did not contradict.


IV.  The reason the Jewish leaders did not accept Jesus


    (V. 37), "...Ye have neither heard his voice at anytime,

nor seen his shape." What Jesus is saying is that the Jewish

fathers had not had such an experience as some of the Old

Testament fathers.  As the children of Israel traveled from

Egypt, God, in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a

pillar of fire by night, led the way.  At Mt. Sinai when the

law was given, that same pillar of cloud and fire enveloped

the mountain and spoke to the people who gathered at the

foot of the mountain.  Then God spoke to the people from

that cloud.  God also spoke to Moses in the top of the

mountain.  The Jewish leaders with whom Jesus dealt had no

such experience.

    There is the probability that some of that delegation

who had been sent to John the Baptist were still present

when the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus and the voice from

heaven said. "This is my beloved Son."  But even if they

were present for that occasion --- even if they did

literally hear that voice of God with their ears --- they

still did not hear it in the sense of believing.  They never

once gave serious consideration to the possibility that

Jesus is the Christ.

    V. 38, "And ye have not his word abiding in you: for

whom he hath sent, him ye believe not."  Jesus here turns

the tide.  He has been the accused, but now He becomes the

accuser.  Jesus says that the Jewish leaders do not have the

word of God abiding in them.  He means, of course, that they

do not understand the word of God.  They had read the

Scriptures.  They had memorized long passages of Scripture.

But they did not understand the Scripture.  They did not

have the truth of the Scripture in their hearts.  This is a

serious charge to be made against religious leaders.  No man

knows all about the Bible, but it is a terrible thing when

religious leaders do not know the very basic truths of God's


    If they had even a smattering of an understanding of

what the Bible is all about they would have understood that

Jesus is the Christ.  V. 39, "Search the scriptures; for in

them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which

testify of me."  Here Jesus calls His second witness.  He

calls the Old Testament Scriptures as His witness.   The

Book of Genesis certainly testifies of the Christ.  God

promised the send of the Seed of woman, who would crush the

head of the Serpent, Satan.  The writings concerning the Law

of Moses certainly testify about the Christ.  The blood

sacrifices at the brazen altar picture the sacrifice of the

Christ on the cross of Calvary.  Moses, himself, said that

God would send another prophet like unto him.  That is, like

Moses.  The historical books, such as I and II Samuel, I and

II Kings, I and II Chronicles certainly testify about the

Christ.  God promised to send the Christ through the family

of king David.  The poetic books, such as the Psalms testify

of the Christ.  The Psalms prophecy even about the nail

prints in His hands.  The prophetic books certainly prophecy

of the Christ.  They foretell even that the Christ would be

born in Bethlehem of Judea.  If these religious leaders had

understood what these books said about the coming of the

Christ, they would have easily been able to identify Jesus

as the Christ.

    V.  40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have

life."  These men not only had not accepted Jesus as the

Christ, but they would not accept Him as the Christ.  What a

shame.  They had an opportunity to come to Him, to place

their faith in Him as their Savior and receive everlasting

life.  They were already physically alive, but they were

spiritually dead.  They were spiritually separated from God.

They could come to Christ and be made spiritually alive.

They could have everlasting life.  They could be born again.

 They could be saved.  They could if they would, but they

would not.  What a tragedy!

    These men had made charges against Jesus Christ, the

very Son of God in heaven.  They were familiar with the Old

Testament Scriptures, which had testified of Him and which

well identified Jesus as the Christ.  They had heard the

testimony of John the Baptist, who declared as plain as

words could speak that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Even if they hear it, they knew that the very voice of God

the Father had spoken from heaven saying that Jesus is His

Son.  They had witnessed the many miracles which Jesus had

performed testifying that Jesus is the Christ.  In essence,

God had spoken to them in all these ways telling them that

Jesus is His Son, the Christ of God, the Savior of the

world.  But had they listened?  No, not at all!  It was as

though they had not heard a word that God had said.  They

were willingly ignorant.  Yea they were more than willingly

ignorant.  They were deliberately ignorant!  They simply

would not hear; they would not believe.

    This is a case which is all too often repeated in the

history of mankind.  In fact this same thing is true in the

lives of men and women today.  God loves all mankind.  God

sent Jesus to save all men who will repent and believe in

Him.  God inspired the Bible so that we can all be well

informed.  God sent the message to all the world.  God still

bears witness in many ways that Jesus is the Christ.  The

most powerful way of all is through the preaching of His

word accompanied by the unseen Holy Spirit of God who knocks

on the door of each heart.

    Men, women, boys and girls all over this world need to

be saved and have opportunity to be saved.  Those of us who

believe in Jesus as our own Savior urge everyone to trust in

Him and be saved.  We human witnesses do a poor job, but God

the Father through the Holy Spirit of God does a very good

job of witnessing for Him.

    Listen, if you are uncertain about where you are going

to spend eternity you need to turn to Jesus Christ and be

saved.  You need to do it now without delay.  You really

need to do it today.




    We are going to have an invitation hymn right now and we

invite you to come while the congregation sings and get

right with God.  Come and trust in Jesus as your Savior.

    If you are already saved and you wish to unite with this

church to serve the Lord, we invite you to come.