John 5:31-40

[Jesus said:] “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
“You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing —testify that the Father has sent me. 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 study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

In this passage, Jesus addresses a very Jewish concern — the validity of his testimony. According to Jewish law, everything had to be established on the basis of two or three credible witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15-19). One's testimony about oneself wasn't considered valid; it needed to be confirmed by other testimony.

After acknowledging this, Jesus points to John the Baptist, not as the primary witness but as one that the Jewish leaders might recognize and accept. John's testimony about Jesus was clear and unequivocal (John 1:29-34). 

Then, Jesus points to his works. Jesus' miracles were not just acts of compassion but signs pointing to his identity. As Jesus later states in John's Gospel, "Even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:38)

Then, Jesus points to the most weighty testimony, which comes from the Father himself. This could refer to moments like Jesus' baptism (Matthew 3:17) or his transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), where the Father's voice affirmed Jesus' identity. It's a divine attestation that surpasses all others.

Finally, Jesus points to the Scriptures. The Old Testament is replete with prophecies, types, and foreshadowings that point to Jesus. Prophecies are direct predictions about future events. Types are symbolic representations of greater realities to come. And foreshadowings are subtle hints or anticipatory patterns that suggest future events or truths.

Here is one example of each. Isaiah prophesies the Messiah's suffering, death, and resurrection in detail (see Isaiah 58). Joseph's betrayal by his brothers, his rise to power in Egypt, and his eventual reconciliation with his family can be seen as a type of Christ's own betrayal, his exaltation, and his role as Savior. The high priest's annual ritual of making atonement for the sins of Israel foreshadows Jesus' once-for-all sacrifice for humanity's sins (Leviticus 16).

It is ironic that the Jewish leaders, who diligently studied the Scriptures, failed to recognize their fulfillment in him. Would we have fared better?

God bless you.  

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