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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 2 - Light Shines in the Darkness (John 5:1 - 11:54)
A - Second Journey to Jerusalem (John 5:1-47) -- Emergence of Hostility Between Jesus and the Jews

4. The four witnesses to Christ's deity (John 5:31-40)

JOHN 5:31-40
31 If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. 32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the 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 gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me. 37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you; because you don’t believe him whom he sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life.

Jesus announced to his foes that he had authority to perform the works of the promised Messiah. They hated this countryman who disturbed their organizations and rules. They asked for testimonies to verify his claims and so Jesus condescended to respond to their request by proofs. We all think ourselves to be better than we actually are. Jesus gave a true assessment of himself without any trace of falsehood. His witness is true even though law normally discounts a person’s witness to himself. This Christ acknowledges in saying, "If I witness to myself; my witness is not true." He did not need to defend himself, since Another had witnessed to him, His heavenly Father, who supported him with a fourfold sign or four lines of evidence.

God sent the Baptist to proclaim Christ among men. This forerunner testified to Christ and his ministry as Priest and his function as Judge. However, this Supreme Council doubted John and rejected his testimony to Jesus (John 1:19-28). John’s testimonies were not the motive factor for Jesus, nor his inspiration, rather Jesus was what he is from eternity. Because of the people’s ignorance, Jesus accepted the Baptist’s witness as further supporting his truth. The Baptist was not exaggerating when he described Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The Baptist was a lamp burning in the night, gathering a group of followers round him to be illumined. But when the Sun arose in the Person of Jesus there was no need for a lamp. Jesus alone is the Light of the World with endless energy. Just as the sun brings about life and growth on earth, so Jesus bestows spiritual life and love. His healings and exorcisms showed his victory of light over darkness. The stilling of the storm and the raising of the dead proved his deity. His works were in harmony with the Father. He completed his ministry on the cross and by his resurrection he poured out the Holy Spirit on those who believed in him. The works of God will be fulfilled in Christ’s second coming to raise the dead and judge the world. There is no difference between Father and Son in their activity: As the Father works, so also the Son.

God Himself raised his voice for us to hear the great affirmation, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17). No one has obtained such a testimony except Jesus who lived according to God’s good pleasure. The beloved Son was filled with true love and purity.

Jesus told the Jews that they did not know God. They had failed to hear His voice in the Law or the Prophets and they had not seen His face clearly in visions or dreams. All previous revelation was defective, since their sins had separated them from the Holy One. Just as Isaiah had cried out when he saw the train of God’s robe in the temple, "Woe is me for I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips." The evidence for their spiritual deafness and lack of understanding was their rejection of Christ, God’s incarnate Word. He who thinks that he understands God’s Word, yet rejects Jesus the Word of God, proves by this that he has not received a genuine revelation or has not understood it.

The people of the Old Testament searched the Scriptures, hoping to gain eternal life. Instead they found the dead letter of the Law. But they missed the promises pointing to the Messiah, even though such prophecies are numerous in the Old Testament. They preferred their own ideas, interpretations and principles, failing to realize that Christ was God’s final Word among them.

Jesus showed them the reason for their refusal – not wanting God as He truly was. They hated Christ and so lost eternal life, missing the object of faith and grace.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we thank you for loving your enemies, you grieved over their unbelief. You showed them the four witnesses to your deity. Help us to search the gospels and other Scriptures to see you, and discover your deity, and trust your works and receive eternal life. Open the ears of millions still deaf to hear your voice in our days.


  1. Who are the four witnesses, and to what do they witness?


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