Last week, in AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA, Part 6,
we saw that the reward for believing in Jesus is life eternal, but those
who do not believe are condemned. The people of Jesus' day still weren't
convinced, and neither are our friends who have different beliefs about
the divinity of Jesus Christ. After all, if Joe Blow off the street says
he is God's Son, would you believe him?
And that is likely exactly what the people of Jesus' day thought: Who is this man to claim He is God's Son?
Jesus knew their thoughts, and He knows human nature: "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." (John 5:31 NIV)
Jesus isn't asking us to simply believe because He said it! He doesn't leave us without proof! Let's look:
"There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid." (John 5:32 NIV)
Okay, so just who is this testimony?
The first one to come to my mind is John the Baptist, and that must have been who the people were thinking of too, for Jesus goes on to speak about John: "You have sent to John and he has testified to the Truth ... John was a lamp that burned and gave light ..." (John 5:33,35a NIV).
In other words, yes! John was a living testimony that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God! And the people, for a time anyway, believed in John's teachings, for Jesus says, "John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light." (John 5:35 NIV)
But is a human testimony enough? After all, the false prophets of our day can also claim to have been heralded by another human! Does it really mean anything?
Not in the grand scheme of things, for Jesus said, "Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved." (John 5:34 NIV). Jesus does not leave the subject here. He's covering all His bases in this one sermon! Let's look: "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." (John 5:36 NIV)
In other words, you may not believe now, and that's okay. But stay tuned! I am doing what the Father told Me to do, and when I am done, My actions will testify that I am truly of the Father!
Jesus is giving us one chance after another. He does not wish for any to be lost! If you don't believe what He says, and you didn't believe the testimony of the one sent to announce Him, then there is still further proof! Just watch His future ministry!
Still not quite convinced? Jesus doesn't leave ANY stones unturned here. He wants for you to be beyond doubt that He is God's Son: "And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His Word dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life!" (John 5:37-40 NIV)
In other words, God Himself testifies that Jesus is His Son! That is the purpose behind the Scriptures, the Old Testament teachings! They all point to Jesus!
Yet so many study those self-same Scriptures and do not see. They "refuse to come to Me to have life".
In all, Jesus is presenting different pieces that make up the puzzle of Truth: His own testimony, the testimony of John the Baptist, the testimony of God through the Scriptures, and even the testimony of His ministry that was still to come.
Has any other walked the Earth who met the testimony of all of these Truths?
No, not one.
And anyone who denies this four-fold testimony is condemned, not by Jesus Himself, but by the writer of the Scriptures: "Do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for He wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what He wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?" (John 5:45-47 NIV)
Friends, let’s remember: Jesus came exactly as it was prophesied in Scripture. He was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Moses. John the Baptist testified of Him, God testified of Him, and Jesus own work of redemption testifies that He is God's Son. Can there be any doubt left in your minds?
This is the last lesson from At the Pool of Bethesda. You will find the rest of this study published online here, or contact me at directly by clicking here. You are also invited to visit other studies on the deep discourses of Jesus presented to us in the book of John by visiting: Lessons From the Book of John!
May God bless you abundantly as you continue to seek Him through His Word!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire "At the Pool of Bethesda" mini-series, please click here.)