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"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true." (John 5:30-31)
With the confirmation hearing of Bret Kavanaugh completed, I am drawn to a flaw that his accuser had in her case. The accuser had no one to confirm that the statements she made against Bret Kavanaugh were true. Now I am not about to debate political issues as they will not find any hope of agreement in today’s societal atmosphere. The opposition refuses to accept that the accuser’s testimony as truth. What puzzles me about this is that most of the people, the players in this confirmation hearing are lawyers. There is a law in the book of Deuteronomy the law is based upon you must have proof of your testimony. One cannot expect to be taken seriously without the evidence of another. The court of justice cannot use hearsay testimony, accusations without the enforcement of truth. A lot of people speak hearsay in ignorance because they hear it from unreliable sources. That may work on Facebook, but it does not work in a court of law. God instructed Moses to write this law down. "A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed." (Deuteronomy 19:15)
Such is the case for Jesus as He was having a legal problem with the Jews of His day. It was not a new problem, but one that kept popping up during His ministry. Jesus had just healed a man who was sick and lame at the pool called Bethesda. The Jews were upset because Jesus had healed this man on the Sabbath, which they considered being a sin. Jesus answered the charge with these words. "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." (John 5:17)
As a result, the Jews were extremely angered and were seeking to kill Jesus. Not only had He healed a man on the Sabbath but He claimed that God was His Father. Jesus was claiming that He was equal to God. Their charge was blaspheme, a complete irreverence towards God. Jesus went on to explain His relationship with the Father, but the Jews did not hear any part of His teaching. Jesus then closed His testimony with this statement. "If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. "There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true." (John 5:31-32)
The Jews of that day knew God’s word. They didn’t have books, and they could not Google to find answers on snoop when a person made an outrageous statement. If they were to know Scripture they had to have it written on their hearts. They knew what Deuteronomy 19:15 said and they would not consider believing the words of Jesus without two or three witnesses.
Jesus, of course, new the law, so He went on to produce the witnesses to His claims. John the Baptist was the first prophet that the Jewish nation had in over four hundred years. When he was twenty years old John went into the wilderness for ten years. The implication is he spent this time communing with God. At the age of thirty John came out of the wilderness and began his ministry of being the forerunner of the Messiah. His message was to repent and prepare the way for the Messiah to come. John the Baptist was a great witness for the coming Christ. John was a humble man and knew his place in the Kingdom of God. "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all." (John 3:31) It was John the Baptist who first testified who Jesus was. "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) The Jews of that day knew who John the Baptist was.
Jesus is coming again, and John the Baptist is an excellent example of the way we should live our lives today as witnesses for the coming King of kings. John was the lamp for the Jewish nation which would lite whole households of Jewish families. Christians today should take the place of the Baptist and be the parent, master, teacher, citizen, and be the light of God for the darkened world we live in. "So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world." (Ephesians 2:15)
John the Baptist was an acceptable witness for the Jewish people as in his time many wondered if it was not he that was the Messiah. (Luke 3:15) The Jewish people knew John, and they knew his testimony and Jesus reconfirmed that testimony to them. "You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth." (John 5:33)
The greater witness of Jesus was the works that He did. Jesus made that point clear in His word to the Jewish people. "But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish--the very works that I do--testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me." (John 5:36) The works that Jesus did, the miracles, were greater proof that He was the Son of God because only God could do these things. His works were not as the works of a man but the demonstration of power that could only come from God.
Many of the people believed Jesus when He promised them eternal life if they would follow Him. It was not only the words of Jesus but also the words of the prophets. "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me." (John 5:39) The word of the Old Testament prophets spoke of eternal life, but it is through Jesus that one can attain eternal life. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)
Jesus has the most excellent witness of all, the testimony of God His Father. Since the day that Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and His Father made this testimony. "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Matthew 3:17) God’s voice was not that quiet voice that our conscience hears. It was an audible voice plain that men could hear. God, the Father’s testimony is par excellence that He speaks in the power of the Holy Spirit. We hear the testimony of His disciples, and we learn of God. As we are His disciples, we are to grow spiritually in the likeness of our Lord. But we also receive the testimony of the Father, which is greater, that He testifies that Jesus is His Son. "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son." (1 John 5:9)
This testimony that Jesus has concerning Himself is essential to us. As followers of Jesus, we have the same testimony as our Lord. We have the testimony of our Church family that we commune with during worship of our God. We also have the testimony of His Word that we study and meditate on each day. But the greatest gift that we have received is the indwelling Holy Spirit that Jesus promised us. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13) The Holy Spirit sanctifies us as we continue to grow into the likeness of Jesus.
Even greater is the confidence we have in our hope through the testimony of the Spirit of Truth that we are His and even now safe in the hand of the Father. Not only today and tomorrow but for eternity. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 8:16)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, October 23, 2018
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