Lesson 47

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

8:13 The Pharisees therefore said to him, "You testify about yourself. Your witness is not valid."

8:14 Jesus answered them, "Even if I testify about myself, my witness is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don't know where I came from, or where I am going. 8:15 You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. 8:16 Even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. 8:17 It's also written in your law that the testimony of two men is valid. 8:18 I am he who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me."

 Today's Lesson

Jesus had been teaching in the Temple courts in Jerusalem on or just after the last day of the Feast of Booths. He had just said that He was the light of the world. Whoever followed Him would not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. To this His opponents, those that were in the group known as the Pharisees, said that His testimony was not valid under the law. He was testifying about Himself. The law required that in order for testimony to be valid, two or more must testify.


The Jewish concept of testimony was quite different from our own. Throughout this Gospel one can read references to the concept of "testimony". Jesus makes the claim that the following persons and things testify to His authority in this Gospel: John the Baptist, God the Father, Himself, The Spirit of God, The words of Moses, and His own works. In the sense that it is used in this passage, "testimony" is that which validates and proves that something is true.


Some of the Pharisees were looking for how they might deny Jesus legitimately. They do not want His words to be true. If what Jesus is teaching is true then their whole position and authority in this society would be undermined. Not all of His opponents took this cynical approach. Some of them could simply not understand His approach. Their concepts about God were based on false assumptions. They could not see the Heavenly Father that Jesus was pointing them toward. Jesus taught that unless God instructed them, they would never believe.


Jesus' response to these detractors is that He knows that His testimony is valid. Jesus knows that He has come from the Father. He knows where He is going. He knows what God will accomplish through His life. His testimony is valid because He is the unique Son of God. The creator of all things cannot be limited in the same ways that you or I might be.


But, in order that they might believe, He does provide them with the two witnesses that their law requires. He says, "I am he who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me." In this sense Jesus says that His testimony is valid under the law.


In what sense had God the Father testified to them about Jesus? First, God testified to them through the law and the prophets. The entire Old Covenant pointed toward the coming of the Messiah. Jesus had told them that they could not truly believe the words of Moses and not believe in Him. All of their history and culture should have led them to faith in Jesus of Nazareth.


Second, God had testified to them in the signs and wonders that Jesus had been able to perform. When Jesus had healed the man that had been sick for 36 years, God had testified. When Jesus had fed the five thousand men in the wilderness God had been behind that as well. Throughout His time with them Jesus healed the sick, caused the blind to see and even raised the dead.


And, God was testifying in the ideas and concepts that Jesus was trying to teach them. Jesus was teaching that God accepted sinners. God was coming to them on a personal level. God was reaching out through the person of His Son. The truth and the grace that was demonstrated in the teaching of Jesus should have convinced them that God was speaking through Him.


The problem was that they were convinced that they already knew what God wanted of them. Whenever we think we know what God is saying, we quit listening. Those who seek to follow the Son of God must always listen. God will speak to us and each moment that He speaks must be a fresh revelation. We must discipline ourselves to continually look to the Son each new moment.


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