The Four Witnesses

John 5:31-47

Jerry A. Collins

Witnesses are essential to authenticate the truth. The more credible the testimony the more compelling the case. For instance, the witness and testimony that exposed our presidentís behavior last year or authenticated why Flight 800 exploded in mid-air in July of 1996 or reveals why the North won the civil war or shows how many Jews were slaughtered in WW2. The witness of the evidence mounts in cases like these and substantiates the truth. To ignore this testimony or reject it or rewrite it is to deny the truth which the testimony clearly reveals.

Witnesses to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God are many too and they are compelling. Yet, this testimony was rejected by His own people. They refused to accept the evidence even though it was substantial. Why? We are going to learn that men do not reject the claims of Christ for lack of testimony and evidence but because sinful man does not wish to submit to Him as God and bow the knee to Him.


Personal testimony can be a powerful witness. (1) Self testimony will not be accepted by Jesus opponents vs 31. They will deny and oppose His claim and refuse to believe it. In the face of undeniable testimony they will not accept it. Interesting they will use false witnesses and conflicting testimony to justify arresting, condemning and killing Christ.

(2) Jesus content to let His father authenticate Him vs 32. Jesus is not on an ego trip. He does not need to be validated with the applause of men. The Father and the Son are united together in mind, emotion, will, purpose and essence. Like Jesus, we need to be content to have our Father in heaven have His way with us.


Testimony from those who know us can authenticate the truth about us. (1) John functioned as a witness for Christ vs 33. Like a good witness, John tells the truth as he knows it (John 1:29; 34). Jesus is the Lamb of God and the Son of God. His opponents had heard this themselves. While Jesus did not need human testimony (vs 34) Johnís witness helped people since he pointed them to Christ not himself so they could be saved. The focus of our message is always Jesus Christ. (2) John was only a lamp not the light vs 35. Like coming to see fireworks lighting up the sky, the nation had eagerly come to see John and hear his message. Eventually he faded and gave way to Jesus Christ. We covet the testimony of those who truly know us. Others may misunderstand us, like Jesus opponents, but a true friend witnesses the truth about us.


My actions testify about me too. (1) Jesus does not need mans testimony. The point seems to be that as wonderful as the testimony of his friend is, Jesus does not need it anyway. He has much weightier testimony. (2) Jesus has the witness of His own actions. John was a significant witness to Christ but he did not do any miracles (10:41). Jesus has the testimony of His own works. he is doing the works His Father has assigned Him and these testify of His identity. For instance, Nicodemus saw these works and testified that no one can do these signs unless God is with him (3:1). The ex-blind man said the same thing in 9:30-33. Again, Jesus and the Father are connected together in purpose. We can make all of the claims we want but our actions prove whether the claims have validity. For instance, I can claim to love my wife but my actions will either back up the claim or disprove it. Jesus actions authenticated His claims.


Those we grow up with and live with and relate with as family can testify about us more accurately than others. (1) The Father testifies about the Son vs 37. When and how did the Father do this? 1. Jesus baptism (Matt 3:17). 2. The transfiguration (Matt 17:5). 3. The Triumphal Entry (John 12:28). 4. In Jesus works (3:2). 5. In peopleís minds and hearts (6:45). Unfortunately, Jesus opponents are ignorant of God the Father as well as the Son and do not hear Him or see Him even though they had evidence in these events to the contrary. (2) Jesus opponents reject His message because they reject Him vs 38. Rejection has to be one of the most painful experiences. Here Jesus own people reject him but there is nothing like the security of home with those who know us best and accept us most. Jesus has that with His Father. The Word of God does not dwell in these who oppose Jesus. They have heard it from a variety of sources but still refuse to believe it. Like so many we know in our own worlds today.


The testimony of Christ is supported by the authority of the Word of God. (1) The scriptures testify of Christ vss 39-40. Jesus opponents had studied the OT very diligently but failed to see that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT Sacrifices, the King of the line of David and the great High Priest all of which prophesied this. The life Jesus gives was rejected by them in spite of the clarity of the revelation given. There is a danger of studying the Word not to learn the truth there but to substantiate our own prejudices with it. James 1:19-27 tells us how we are to receive Gods Word. (2) Those wanting acceptance from others rather than God cannot believe and unwilling to come to Christ 41-44. Jesus does not seek praise but to please His father 41. His opponents do not have love of Father in them. So far Jesus assesses that these are ignorant of God, do not have the Word abiding in them, do not believe him, unwilling to come to him, do not have love of God in them and will not receive him 42. Why are they so unwilling to come to Jesus for salvation? Because they seek the glory and praise of men rather than God and others tell their audience what they want to hear so it is quickly embraced as true vs 43-44. We must never compromise the truth to gain a following. (3) Rejecting Christ means rejecting all testimony about him 45-47. So they will be accused and it will come from Moses who they revere because he too testified of Jesus (Deut 18:15-19). If they really believed Moses they would believe Christ.