John 8:13-18 : The Pharisees therefore said to him, “You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered them, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don’t know where I came from, or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. Even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. It’s also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid. I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.”
Jesus is recorded as saying two seemingly opposite statements if they are taken out of context… let’s review:
John 5:31-32 : “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.”
This confused me at first. This is a great example of why we need to recognize the context in which something is said or written. It is important for us to remember that any communication in which context is a part of the language needs to be considered in context. One of the difficulties of adding verse numbers to the Biblical text is that it can make it appear that the text of the verse can stand alone. This is often not the case.
In John 5, the issue is the quantity of witnesses. In chapter 8, it is the quality that is being considered. First, let’s review the law:
Deuteronomy 19:15 : One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established.
When He says that His “over-all” witness is invalid if He testifies alone, as chapter 5 infers, it makes sense. But if the quality of Jesus testimony is in question, clearly Jesus is a valid witness on His own behalf, as long as another witness is brought forward as chapter 8 says.
Here in chapter 8 we see that Jesus was a capable self-witness. He states that He is a capable witness because He knows where He came from and where He is going. Based on this, his accusers have no valid witnesses to their accusation! Jesus knew that He existed before His birth, as I have mentioned before, and that He knew that He would be returning to Heaven. He knew who He was. The religious leadership accused Jesus of blaspheme because He claimed to be God. The problem with this accusation is that it assumes that Jesus was lying. Accusing someone of a lie is an accusation that requires witnesses. They made an accusation without witnesses as mere speculators and they made their speculation as if it were of higher importance than the actual witnesses of the truth. By stating that Jesus was a blasphemer without a witness they were breaking the law they blamed Jesus for breaking.
Science, History and Law: For witness to events that have never been seen before, this law serves as a powerful protection. It keeps people from being wrongfully judged based on a mere scientific explanation or precedent. This concept of witnesses demonstrates a legal basis for the supernatural creation of the universe. God claims that He witnessed the events (and performed them as well). Man can only speculate about what happened. Furthermore, God says He represents more than one (see the use of plural self reference in Genesis 1:26). This makes Him a legal and valid witness to the creation events by His own law. Man, on the other hand, had no witnesses. For man to state that God didn’t create the universe is to attempt to use speculation to oppose the valid testimony of three witnesses. Notice that a law that protects testimony over speculation allows justice to be served regarding events that have no precedent. Therefore, not only is a supernatural creation likely based on physical limitations, the supernatural can and should be favored on a legal basis.