The Gospel of John: a commentary & meditation 
 The Father's witness

Scripture:  John 5:31-47

31 If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; 32 there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works  which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know that you have not the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

Meditation: Do you know the joy of the gospel and a life fully submitted to Jesus Christ? Jesus' opponents refused to accept his divine authority and claim to be the only Son from the Father. They hostilely demanded evidence for his Messianic claim and equality with God. Jesus answers their charges with the supporting evidence of witnesses. The Mosaic law had laid down the principle that the unsupported evidence of one person shall not prevail against a man for any crime or wrong in connection with any offence he committed (see Deuteronomy 17:6).  At least two or three witnesses were needed.  Jesus begins his defense by citing John the Baptist as a witness, since John publicly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and had repeatedly borne witness to him (see John 1:19, 20, 26, 29, 35, 36). Jesus also asserts that a greater witness to his identity are the signs he performed.  He cites his works, not to point to himself but to point to the power of God working in and through him.  He cites God as his supreme witness.  To those who carefully read the Old Testament, especially the books of Moses, they point to Jesus as the Messiah, the promised Savior.  The problem with the scribes and Pharisees was that they did not believe what Moses had written.  They desired the praise of their fellow humans and because of that they were unable to recognize and understand the word of God. Their pride made them deaf to God's voice. God reveals himself to the lowly, to those who trust not in themselves, but in God. The Lord opens the ears of those who are eager to hear his voice and he fills their hearts and minds with his love and wisdom.  Do you listen to God's word with faith and trust?

"Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may listen to your word attentively and obey it joyfully."

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(c) 2001 Don Schwager