Who are you?
Jesus gives a long dialogue regarding his authenticity.
John 5: 31-47
Yesterday after preaching in a church I went to the home of the Pastor for a wonderful lunch. I was wearing a really nice white shirt and after lunch we took a photo of the whole family so I could post on to social media which I did. Lots of comments came in and ‘likes’ however what people were seeing was not the truth. Only 2 minutes into the meal I spilt sauce onto my really nice white shirt! I was stained and concerned that the photograph was now impossible. The Pastor gave me assurance that with his know-how no one would see the stain and sure enough by the time the picture came out on social media he had doctored the stain and removed it (not that easy to do in real-life back home!).
In our world of social media claims and selfie’s with huge declarations of what has been achieved and beautiful displays of blessing it is easy for someone to think they are living in a different world but they long to be part of what they see on their phones and tablets. The truth is that not everything is perfect.
Who are you? That was the question the accusers of Jesus asked. “Prove it” was the challenge.
The Jews believed that the person speaking about who they are is not good enough. It needed more than the voice of the accused. In their law it states “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.” (Deuteronomy 17:6).
That is why Jesus said in v31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.” He was referring to the Law of Moses. He knew they wouldn’t and couldn’t accept it.
So he reveals 3 witnesses:
- Man – John the Baptist. Here is what he says in v32-35
“There is another who testifies in my favour, 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.”
At first they received John but then as his ministry increased and as he pointed continually towards Jesus then the Jewish leaders backed off.
- The Works of God – the miracles that Jesus had been doing amongst the people. Here is what he says in v36-38
“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.”
People’s lives were being transformed and they pointed to the approval from God. Though John doesn’t write about it the other Gospel writers do, the voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus was the voice of the Father giving his approval.
- The Scriptures. Here is what he says in v39-40
“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. “
The whole point of their Torah was to lead them to the Messiah but they never came. He was standing amongst them and they had studied all their life for this moment but they were blind to who He is.
So Jesus turns the discussion around to their authenticity and the challenge remains for us today. Let me set it around 3 questions:
- Where does your glory come from?
V44 “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” Before this Jesus said, “I do not accept glory from human beings,”v41.
Jesus was saying he doesn’t wallow in the glory from man. He doesn’t worry if he gets the ‘likes’ or not. He isn’t trying to impress man so man’s praise doesn’t move him. His glory isn’t from them. Where is ours? Do we need man’s praise and man’s approval for us to know who we are? Is that the glory we seek? Or do we seek the glory of God? Are we aiming for the beauty of God to shine through our lives?
- Where is your love?
V42-43 “but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.”
Jesus was demonstrating his love for God and love for people, the 2 royal commands that he taught. But they didn’t demonstrate this.
May our words be kind and loving not only to God but to those around us; those on the street and those who are difficult to love.
May they know Him because of our love.
- Where is your hope?
V45-47 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
The big blow. Jesus wasn’t there to judge them, they already lived under judgment and it was Moses of all people. Their hope was founded on his teaching of the Messiah to come but they didn’t know who he called them to know. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Our hope leads us to Christ, it doesn’t condemn us.
May the glory, love and the hope that are in our lives authenticate who we are today.