John 5:31-37  The role of scripture and believers’ testimonies is to bridge men to Christ, the source of abundant life

John 5:31-37  The role of scripture and believers’ testimonies is to bridge men to Christ, the source of abundant life

31 “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives 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, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

36 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.

37 And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38 You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

Background

Jesus chided the Jews for not believing Him. Despite the testimony of the Father, John the Baptist, and the miraculous works He did, the Jews remain unrepentant. Today, we discuss the role of human testimonies, miraculous works and scripture, which is to bring men to encounter Christ. The word itself does not impart life, but it serves as a bridge to Christ, who alone is the source of life. Human testimonies of supernatural power and miracles speaks of God’s love and power, but unless men encounter Christ, there is no salvation. Today’s devotion teaches us: The role of scripture and believers’ testimonies is to bridge men to Christ, the source of abundant life.

Observation

You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.

The Jews had earlier sent a deputation to John to investigate his identity and activities (John 1:19). John, in his reply to the deputation, told them of his purpose which is to prepare the way for Saviour, Jesus, the Son of God (John 1:29-34). His role is to identify the Messiah and point people to Him. However, while many welcomed the news of the coming Messiah, they did not take prompt action to come to Jesus and repent. They merely rejoice at the news of the coming of the Saviour, but did not take steps to enter into the kingdom.

The very works that I do — testify about Me.

As John has completed his task, it remains for them to heed his testimony and come to Jesus. However, Jesus contrasted John’s testimony with His own. And Jesus’s testimony is greater than John’s, simply because Jesus testifies of Himself as the Son of God, who is the way to the Father. In a nutshell, John’s testimony points the way to Jesus, while Jesus’s testimony shows the way to the Father. Jesus’s testimony as being the Son of God is authenticated by means of His works. Indeed, the works that the Father had given to Jesus testified to His Sonship. By accomplishing these works, Jesus showed Himself as the Son of God. These divine works include His revelatory teachings, His power to forgive sins, miracles, and the cross, the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me.

The Father Himself testified at Jesus’s baptism by speaking from heaven acclaiming Jesus as His only Son, and followed by the impartation of the Spirit in visible form (a dove). Although many of them were not present to hear the heavenly voice concerning the Son. But the Father’s testimony have been communicated to them through “many and various ways” (see Hebrews 1:1), but they had rejected it. The word as spoken by the wise men and the prophets have in unison attested to Jesus as the Son, the fulfillment of their prophecies. Although the Jews possessed detailed knowledge of the scriptures, yet they could not hear the divine Word that testified of Jesus as the Messiah.

Truth

Believers cannot experience eternal life by witnessing miracles without encountering Christ through the word.

The Word is a personal revelation from God spoken through His Spirit. It serves as a bridge to Christ to be one with Him. The apostle Paul said, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Testimonies of men attest to the love and the power of God. On one hand, such testimonies hinges on the trustworthiness of the testifier. On the other hand, miraculous signs unmistakably display the attributes of God beyond doubt – “I was blind, but now I see!” (John 9:25). Men’s testimonies and miraculous signs no doubt are powerful channels to reveal God to the world; even then, God remains distant through these channels.

Unless, God speaks and connects personally and intimately, men cannot experience the divine life. And it is by encountering Jesus that believers grow in divine wisdom, love and power. When believers meditate on the word and humbly seek Him, Christ becomes real and intimate. I have seen some church circles chasing after miracles and it comes to a point that even the most dramatic of miracles becomes trite and meaningless. Beyond a certain point testimonies and miracles no longer promote faith. The Word brings men to Christ who regenerates their hearts towards righteous works.

The role of scripture is to bridge men to Christ, the source of abundant life.

The people having heard John’s testimony rejoiced because of the coming Messiah. Regrettably, the word that they heard did not bring them the intended blessing and salvation. Having heard John’s testimony they remain distant unwilling to follow Jesus. As in the days of John the Baptist, most in the church today are unable  encounter Jesus intimately. Their conversations with Jesus are entirely monologues, having no certainty of God’s directives for them. What is most puzzling is that many of such are well versed in the bible. Hence, the crux of the matter is their perception of the role of scripture: Scripture by itself does not impart life, it merely serves as a bridge to encounter Jesus, the source of abundant life. The apostle Paul said concerning the role of the law, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4). In a fuller sense, scripture serves to bridge men to Christ, who is the source of righteousness. Until we come to encounter Christ face-to-face and fellowship with Him on a daily basis, there is no impartation of righteousness for life. It is true that many in the church today have little passion to encounter Christ and to fellowship with Him. They treat the word as the source of righteousness which is the reason why they cannot encounter Christ.

When God and men see your good works, they will testify of you and glorify God.

Therefore, Jesus did not ever have to testify for Himself. The Father testified of Him, and His works spoke on His behalf. Even today, millions of believers willingly give their lives for Him. Jesus had John the Baptist testified for Him. His miraculous works and His sacrifice on the cross attested to His identity as Son of God. The Father Himself anointed Jesus with the Spirit. Therefore, there is absolutely no necessity for us to trumpet our achievements and good deeds. As the Father openly testified for Jesus, and for Moses (Numbers 12:7-8), He will do the same for you today if you are deemed worthy. If one alone testify about himself, his testimony is tenuous and dismissible. Today, many self-proclaimed philanthropist exalt themselves by trumpeting their donations on the news. Many evangelists parade their healing testimonies and exploits on social media in hopes of raising their profile. In doing so, they have already gotten their reward on earth. But the true sons of God will let the works speak on their behalf to glorify God and God alone.

Application

  1. Are you accustomed to reading testimonies of fellow men being dependent on them for your encouragement? Are you drawn to motivational messages and books to help you feel better? The Word is the primary channel through which God imparts His Spirit. Therefore, we must develop our discipline in reading the Word through which we receive our solid food for the day.
  2. Are you concerned that no one vouches for you? But as you learn to vouch for the truth and stand up for the defenseless, you will soon find others vouching for you. The golden rule is to do for others, what you want others do for you.
  3. Do you find it difficult to hear God speak when you read the word? Perhaps, you have not been truly interested in God as opposed to what He could do for you. If we could be truly interested to know His thoughts and passion, He will reveal them to our spirit.

Dear Lord, I thank you for revealing yourself to me through a myriad of ways. I desire to know more of you and what is currently weighing on your heart. I desire to participate in the work of your kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: