Witness to the truth
The uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation continues. What a joy it is to realise that our certainty and hope as His people remains, as we focus on our Lord and Christ.
In the following passage, the Lord Jesus uses a commonly identifiable word - witness. He then goes on to speak about His relationship with the Father God. These are important lessons and crucial to our life as believers
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
The word witness has a range of meanings and the one used here is martureō.
We have the word martyr from this meaningful word.
In verse 31 and 32, Jesus is referring to the Old Testament law where the witness is to vouch and confirm the truthfulness of a situation and the warning to be careful not to condemn anyone without the required number of witnesses.
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
(Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15)
We are reminded of the trial of our Lord and how the Jews had two false witnesses to bring 'credibility' to their accusations.
......At the last came two false witnesses.
WITNESS ON EARTH
John the Baptist
In John 5: 31-35, the reminder from the Lord that John came to bear witness of the truth.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John the Baptist was also known as the last of the Old Testament prophets and indeed all of the Old Testament prophets were pointing to the coming One, The Lord Jesus Christ.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Lord Jesus Himself
In John 5: 36 the Lord proclaims that he is a greater witness than John the Baptist as he came from the Father, whilst Matthew 1:23 proclaims He is sent from heaven to earth. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
In John 5: 45-47, the Lord challenges the Jews, their knowledge of the scriptures and their failure to recognise the writings of Moses that the Lord will ‘raise a prophet from among the brethren’. There is also a warning for those who do not heed to his call. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Acts 3:22-24)
Others in Scripture
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
After the resurrection, Jesus again turns to the scripture when He walks with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
WITNESS IN HEAVEN
The Lord Jesus proclaims that His Father is a greater and more powerful witness than all these earthly witnesses, in verses 36-38.
God made Himself known through His voice here on earth as well at the Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17,Mark 1:9-11,) and in the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-11, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36). Peter James and John were witnesses at the mount of Transfiguration and Peter later goes on to record this in his letter. (2 Peter 1:17,18).
The voice of God, the witness from heaven to earth finally is heard making an emphatic reminder to everyone in this world to turn to His Son.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
YOU AND I
After the resurrection and just before He is taken into the presence of the Father, we hear these precious closing words.
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
May the emphasis that 'you will be witnesses for Me' and what we know as the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, continue to reverberate in our minds, activate our wills and motivate our whole being to be participants in the clear mandate we have to proclaim the Name of Christ. We are His witnesses on earth.