“You sent to John, and he bore witness of the truth. I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was a burning and a shining lamp, and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. I have greater testimony than that of John. The works which the Father has given Me to finish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. The Father Himself, who has sent Me, has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe the One He has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think in them you have eternal life. These are they who bear witness of Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:33-40
Jesus desired that His fellow Jews believe in Him and be saved, but many did not. Jesus pointed out that they weren’t just rejecting His claims to be the Son of God and their Messiah and Savior; they were also rejecting the witness of John and of God the Father.
For a time, at least, many of His Jewish hearers believed the witness of John the Baptist and rejoiced in His message calling on all to repent and announcing the coming of the Messiah and that the establishment of His kingdom was at hand.
What did John the Baptist say of Jesus? John 1 records his testimony. In John 1:29, John the Baptist said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” And, in v. 32-34, we read, “Then John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “The One on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” I have seen and have borne witness that He is the Son of God.’”
But Jesus didn’t need the testimony of man, not even the testimony of a great prophet like John the Baptist, to prove that His claims were true. Jesus said, “I have greater testimony than that of John. The works which the Father has given Me to finish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36).
Think about it. Who could do the miracles that Jesus did if God did not send Him? Jesus healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, enabled the crippled to walk, cast out demons, and even raised the dead to life again. And Jesus was doing the work the Father sent Him into the world to do — He was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and then going to the cross to atone for the sins of all.
Jesus’ hearers did not hear God’s voice or see His form because they did not recognize Jesus, the very Son of God in human flesh, who had come into this world to redeem them. Not only did God the Father testify of Jesus at His baptism and again later on the Mount of Transfiguration that He is the beloved Son of God (Matt. 3:17; 17:5), but the Scriptures, given by inspiration of God — the same Scriptures they searched and studied — testified of Jesus, of His person and His work, but they did not believe.
Jesus’ words were true: “You are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (v. 40). And, of course, these words of Jesus still ring true today. We have heard of Jesus’ miracles and His teaching. The Scriptures we hear and study testify of Him that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” “No one comes to the Father except through” Him (John 14:6) — He is the Son of God and the only way of salvation! But do we repent of our sins and look to Jesus and His cross in faith that He indeed has atoned for our sins, that in Him we have redemption and forgiveness, that through faith in His name, we have the everlasting joys of heaven?
If we don’t come to Jesus, we do not have life but will be condemned and cast out of His kingdom when He comes again to judge the living and the dead. Now is the time to hear and heed the witness of God concerning His Son and listen to Jesus!
Grant that I hear and heed the testimony of Your Word, O God, that I repent of my sins and look to Jesus and His cross in faith that I may have life and not be condemned on the day of Christ’s return. In His name, I pray. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]