This is the sermon for Wednesday January 16th 2008. We are doing a Wednesday verse by verse series into the book of John.
JOHN PART 19
The witness for Christ – B
Several months ago, coming home from Bellville late at night from a hospital visit, I was witness to a head on collision. Two people, the driver the caused the collision, and a little boy both lost their lives in this crash. As the only witness to the collision, I remember that night giving my testimony several times to the police. And a few months after it happened, I was getting calls from insurance agencies, private investigators, and lawyers all concerning this accident. After a few months went by, it was very hard to remember each detail, I guess in the end, if I was called to court over it, I wouldn’t be a very good witness because time as a way of glossing over the details you remembered so vividly when it first happen.
Last week I asked this question, “Have you ever considered the fact that Jesus Himself needed testimony?” Now the testimony wasn’t for Himself, I mean He knew who He was, it was for those present, who were presenting their arguments.
Remember, they are going by the Law here.
Deuteronomy 19:15 CSB – One witness cannot establish any wrongdoing or sin against a person, whatever that person has done. A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Last time we saw that Jesus presents to these Jewish leaders four witnesses who will testify to the validity of who He is. So far we have seen Him bring up the witness of John the Baptist, and the works that He does.
This week He will bring up the other two witnesses, plus we will see some other things as well. Let’s look into the text and see what God would say to us.
1. The witness of the Father’s testimony.
John 5:37-38 CSB – 37 The Father who sent Me has Himself testified about Me. You have not heard His voice at any time, and you haven’t seen His form. 38 You don’t have His word living in you, because you don’t believe the One He sent.
A. The third witness Jesus brings up for His defense is God the Father.
Notice the first thing He said about the Father here in v. 37 – it was the Father that sent Him. Jesus wasn’t man sent, nor did He send Himself, but He was sent by the God the universe, God Almighty Himself.
B. He goes on to say in verse 37 that the Father Himself has testified concerning Jesus. When did He do this? Well, I think it can be found throughout all the Old Testament Scriptures, but let’s not deal with them tonight, let’s look at what has taken place while Jesus was on the earth, and what will take place concerning the Father’s witness.
The Father was His witness during Jesus baptism.
Matthew 3:16-17 CSB – 16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. 17 And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!
The Father will testify concerning Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Matthew 17:5 CSB – While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!
C. These Jewish leaders who think they know God, really don’t.
They have never heard His voice or seen His form. They really don’t have the Word living in them. Now this would have been a difficult thing for them to hear. They are trained up in the teachings of the Torah and the Prophets. They have the Scriptures memorized, and they recite certain ones during the festivals. Jesus is talking to very religious people here, who study the Scriptures daily. So what does He mean they don’t have the Word living in them? The next phrase in verse 38 explains what He means, they don’t believe in the One He (the Father) sent. You see, the greatest way that the Father testifies concerning Jesus Christ is the Old Testament Scriptures themselves.
Which leads us to point number 2.
2. The witness of the Scriptures.
John 5:39-40 CSB – 39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
A. Jesus brings the Old Testament Scriptures next up in His defense against these attacks of the Jews.
B. He brings up first in verse 39 that these leaders pore over the Scriptures.
Like I said earlier, they were in constant study of the Law and the Prophets, and they thought this constant study is what brought about eternal life. Here is the great tragedy – they had the Scriptures, read them, studied them, memorized them, and yet missed the point that the Scriptures pointed to – the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
C. And since they missed this point, they were not willing to come and accept Him, and thereby they would not receive eternal life (verse 40).
D. I think a great lesson can be learned here. It is not how much Scripture you read throughout the week, how much you can quote, or how much you have memorized, and things like this that is really important. Ultimately what is important is do you believe in what the Scriptures say, that Jesus Christ, is the Messiah, the way the truth and the life, the only way to the Father, the Redeemer, the One who declares us righteous, the justifier, the propitiation for our sins.
All these things are what Scripture says about Him. Do you believe it or not?
3. The results of ignoring these witnesses.
John 5:41-47 CSB – 41 “I do not accept glory from men, 42 but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, yet you don’t accept Me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God. 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
A. Ultimately, though they didn’t accept the testimony of Jesus and these four witnesses He brings up in His defense, it will not harm Him or His ministry in any way.
Why? Because He does not accept glory from men (verse 41). These Jewish believers enjoyed the applause from their peers. Whether Jesus received their approval or applause just didn’t matter, He was about doing the Father’s will. Another great lesson to be learned here: don’t let the applause from others, or the lack of it, keep you off that straight line of following God’s will. It is His approval we should seek, not one anothers.
B. Verses 42-43 are pretty strong words to say to these Jewish Leaders.
Though they claim to love God, they really don’t. And what is the proof, the fact that they won’t accept Jesus Christ, the one whom the Father has sent. Sadly, other false Messiah’s will come, and they will flock to them.
C. I think verse 44 may give us a little clue into why they don’t believe in Jesus.
They are not seeking the Father’s glory, they are seeking glory, or applause from one another. That word glory in the Greek literally means, “to make one shine brightly.” It talking about approval that makes people take notice. They weren’t trying to have the Father take notice of them, or allow Him to shine upon His truth, they were looking to raise the spotlight on themselves by the flattery and applause of others.
D. Jesus is not the ultimate accuser of these Jewish Leaders, it is the writings of Moses in the Old Testament Scriptures (verses 45-47).
Moses wrote concerning Jesus, prophesies, the Theophanies or Old Testament appearances, yet they refused to believe what Moses wrote, and therefore stood condemned by Scripture.
• While Scripture reading is important, it is of utmost importance to believe the Scriptures, and in context of what we taught, especially concerning the truths of Jesus Christ.
• Believe the Scriptures in such a way, that you are willing to share them with others who don’t know Jesus, showing that they point to Him.
Next time, we are going to look at Jesus feeding the 5000.