23 February 2010
Jesus Is Affirmed by Many Sources
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God inf you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” John 5:31-47
So far in this account written by Jesus' disciple John, Jesus has claimed that God is his Father, that his work and his Father's work are the same and that God the Father will give him authority to judge the living and the dead at an appointed time. Big calls! The religious leaders of Israel may be right to raise suspicion.
But our loving Lord Jesus never asks us to simply place our belief in Him based on flimsy evidence. He doesn't ask us to believe him simply because he said to. After all, anyone can claim anything.
What about the most recent and recognised prophet of God, John the Baptist? John the Baptist testified to "the Lamb of God" and was constantly testifying to "the one whose sandals I am unworthy to untie". He had the integrity and respect of Israel not to mention the Lord's hand in his work. But, anyone can have mere human testimony and loyal subjects who can be completely and utterly wrong.
What about the works that Jesus was doing? Jesus was healing and helping people like no one had ever witnessed before. And Jesus just claimed that he would be unable to do these awesome works if he was not doing what the Father is doing. Not even the enemies of Jesus, during his ministry, ever questioned the miracles themselves. They would question the timing or the power by which Jesus performed the miracles.
What about God's Word which spoke again and again about the Messiah? Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, that the scriptures spoke of himself since he is the Messiah, the one who will save Israel. Couldn't we examine the scriptures to see if Jesus' claim is valid or invalid. Jesus asks us to search them.
It is at this point that Jesus accuses these religious leaders of spiritual blindness. Jesus claims that if one searches the scriptures, looking for eternal life, looking for the best way to live, looking for the words of God himself, and don't find the clear testimony about Jesus, we don't know the book or it's Author. He says that people must come to him for life. He says that if the love of God is in them, they will clearly accept who Jesus is.
We are so quick to follow people based on popularity, based on who else is following, based on reputation. In reality, we do not set our standards high enough. We fall so easily for praise from one another. Why? Because ultimately we have no real authority over one another. Ultimately our judgment amounts to nothing. Because we can easily fool one another to whatever selfish end we want to seize.
The problem of the religious leaders is the universal problem of the world. We refuse to humbly seek an intimate relationship with our Creator, our Father, our God. We have rejected him and have put our trust in something else. And, everything else outside of God is created.
The religious leaders claimed to be restoring Israel back to its glory days by restoring its purity in the light of the original law handed down by Moses. But, what about God's servant Moses testimony about Jesus? Deuteronomy 18:15, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet." Was Jesus a prophet like Moses? Yes and he is so much more than Moses. Jesus points out that if they do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that they really do not listen to Moses either. When they invoke the name of Moses, it is not out of genuine love for God, his prophet nor his scriptures.
What do all of these witnesses to Jesus have in common? They are all from His Father. It is God's prophets, God's works, God's Word and even God's Spirit that testify to the validity of Jesus' claims. To reject Christ as the way to life, as the way to know the Father, is to reject the
Father. But, to believe that Jesus is the way to life, as the way to know the Father, is to accept the Father.