Testimonies About Jesus
Read: John 5:31-47
Focus: Have you ever had to testify in court? What was that experience like?
5:31–47 In these passages Jesus stresses the testimonies of others who support his testimony: John the Baptist (v. 33), the works of Jesus (v. 36), God the Father (v. 37), the Scriptures (v. 39) and Moses (v. 46).
v. 31 my testimony is not valid See Deut. 19:15b “A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
v. 32 another who testifies in my favor Could be referring to John, but is most likely referring to the weightier testimony of the Father.
v. 33 You have sent to John The Jewish leaders had sent a delegation to John the Baptist. (see 1:19). he has testified. Though John’s testimony is not equal to that of the Father, John has testified to the truth and if the Jewish had believed it they would be saved
v. 35 Sir 48:1 says that Elijah’s word was “a flame like a torch.” It was natural for Jesus to describe John the Baptist in this way because of John’s association with Elijah (see John 1:21 and the note on John’s reply, “I am not”).
John was. The past tense indicates that John’s work is done. He may be in prison or already dead. burned and gave light. It cost John to give light. for a time. Though the Jewish leaders listened to John, they never let his message fully impact their lives and repent as a result.
v. 37 See Deut 4:12. “Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.” In Deut 5:24 ff., at Mt. Sinai, the Israelites begged to no longer hear the voice of God. That request was granted and prior to Jesus there is a gap of several centuries where there is no revealed Word of God. Now the Word of God is present and they don’t “hear” him. This would be all the more ironic if this was happening at the Feast of Pentecost which, by this time, is associated with the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai.
v. 39 In them you possess eternal life. See the following quotes from the rabbinic tract Pirqe Avot (“The Sayings of the Fathers”): Pirqe Avot 2:8, “He who has acquired the words of the law has acquired for himself the life of the world to come”; Pirqe Avot 6:7, “Great is the law for it gives to those who practice it life in this world and in the world to come.”
v. 41 praise Could be translated as honour. The Greek word is “glory,” the respect or honor given to a someone because of their status. Same in v. 44
v. 42 love of God could be translated God’s love or love for God.
v. 45 Your accuser is Moses Ironic because Moses is the one that the Jewish leaders look to for support for their position against Jesus. Also ironic if this is taking place at Pentecost, the of celebration of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. There is evidence that some 1st century Jews believed that Moses would be their intercessor at the Final Judgment. If this is the case here, then those opposing Jesus really do have their hopes set on Moses.
- What is Jesus’ testimony (see John 5:19-27 & list 3 different aspects of Jesus’ testimony. Hint: Jesus introduces each aspect with “I tell you the truth…”)?
- How does John the Baptist’s testimony support Jesus’ testimony?
- How does the Father’s testimony support Jesus’ testimony?
- How does the work that Jesus is doing support his testimony?
- How does Moses support Jesus’ testimony?
- What difference does it make to us to know that Jesus’ testimony has the support of several witnesses?
- How difference does Jesus’ testimony make in your life?
Next time: John 6:1-24