John 5:31-38 : “If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 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. The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. You don’t have his word living in you; because you don’t believe him whom he sent.
Jesus continues His discourse to the Jewish leadership when He found out they wanted to kill Him. Once again, He brings up the subject of testimony. He says that He can’t testify for Himself, but that there is one who’s testimony they can rely on. He mentions two witnesses:
- John the Baptist
- God the Father by way of miracles
Jesus, moving past the horror of the fact that they planned to kill Him, carefully details the case as to why His claims were legally worthy of consideration. He explained to them that yes, John testified, but I have a greater testimony than that of John; and my miracles testify that God Himself agrees with me.
This is not an unusual concept for a Jew. Moses came to Egypt to free them and display God’s glory using signs that God used to testify that Moses was who he said he was. Perhaps the greatest sign that God gave Moses was a sign of death to the firstborn the night before the God freed them. Jesus was about to give the biggest sign of all as well, and it was not to be death this time.
Then, Jesus turns the tables and levels an accusation against them. He claimed that they knew nothing of God because they didn’t accept Him. Here He says that they have never seen or heard God and they don’t have his word living in them. I would think that this is a very heavy accusation to a Jewish religious leader because they took pride in their knowledge of the Bible. To say that they didn’t have God’s word living in them must have hurt their pride. This was a thing that Jesus not only didn’t attempt to avoid, but determined to do. He purposefully hurt their pride. Once again, the Bible doesn’t describe a passive Jesus. He continues on with this tone in the next verses.