10/3/05 John 5:31-47
John 5:31 "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 33 "You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 "I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? 45 "But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430); "Christ as God is the fatherland where we are going. Christ as man is the way by which we go."
Jesus had claimed equality with God and the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him, verse 18. In today's passage he backs up his claims by other "witnesses". The object of this was so that people might be "saved", verse 34. Saved from the consequences of their sin. For the Jewish leaders this would include their reliance upon their religion and their rejection of Christ that would culminate in his murder.
Jesus cited the Old Testament principle, central to later Jewish law that two witnesses are necessary to prove a case. He refers, rather obliquely to Go as "another", verse 32. He then spells out what this means.
Firstly he refers to John the Baptist. The hand-held oil lamps of the ( Herodian ) period were too small to give much light (they normally produced as much as a candle), and therefore one would symbolize only a small reflection of "the light." John's mission was to prepare the way for the light of the world, Jesus, verses 33-35.
Secondly Jesus refers to the work he has been given by God the Father, verse 36. Ultimately this was his death on the cross but it also involved a blameless life, astounding teaching, miracles, healings, exorcisms, and raising the dead.
Thirdly, God himself testifies, verse 37. Israel at Sinai supposedly saw his form and heard his voice, and accepted his word through his agent Moses; Jesus says that his own generation rejects the fuller revelation of God sent to them. God showed himself to the world by becoming a man. Showing us what we should be like. Dying for us so we can be like him.
Fourth, the Father testifies through the Scriptures. The Scripturespointed to Jesus. The Jewish religious leaders believed that one had eternal life through the Scriptures and by being part of the Jewish religion; but Jesus says that the Scriptures witness to him, hence to reject him is to disobey the Scriptures. He is the source of eternal life.
What is eternal life?
John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Eternal life is living in a right relationship with God through Jesus.We start eternal life here on earth.
To quote one commentator, "To live in Eternal life is more than endless. It has a unique quality and character all its own. Eternal life is God's own life, infused with His vitality and moral character, given to us through spiritual birth. Those with this life can have fellowship with God and with other believers, for we are linked to Him and one another by eternal bonds. a right relationship with God."
Fifth, Jesus comes as God's ambassador. Representing God with all of his power and authority. This is most important. Jesus condemns those who praise people but do not accept God and, therefore, Jesus
It is a reminder to us that there will be times when our devotion to Christ will caused conflict with the world and we will have to take the unpopular way to be true to God.
The first five books of the Old Testament were attributed to Moses and these witnessed to Jesus. Ancient Judaism viewed Moses as an intercessor for Israel; but Jesus says that Moses will instead be their prosecutor. Jewish teachers regarded Moses as the central prophetic figure of their history, and even many pagans knew of Moses as Israel's lawgiver. The law pointed to humankind's failure to live right and, therefore, the need for a saviour. The Old Testament sacrificial system was a forerunner, a shadow of Jesus once and for all perfect sacrifice on the cross. Something we celebrate and proclaim in this service.
C. S. Lewis (1898?1963); "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He'd be either a lunatic?on a level with a man who says he's a poached egg?or else he'd be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse."
We have to make our mind up. Do we reject him like the Jewish leaders? Or do we welcome him as God and Saviour into our hearts. Do we quench His Spirit or do we allow him to have free reign in our lives?
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430); Jesus Christ will be Lord of all or he will not be Lord at all.