The Witnesses of Jesus

John 5: 31-47
Ex 32: 7-14 / Psa 106

These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
(John 5:39)

Let’s meditate on this this Lent:
Is our testimony God-sent?
If our witness just seeks men’s praise,
Then it’s not worth an ounce of grace.

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 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 very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies 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 diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept praise from men, 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. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? 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?” (John 5:31-47)

Reflection

Jesus appears to be on trial here. It all started when our Lord healed a man on the Sabbath, and in answer to accusations that He had violated this sacred law, Jesus told the Jews, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn.5:17). This only infuriated the Jews all the more, because now He was claiming to be the Son of God. Judaism is a monotheistic religion, thus Jesus’ claim was blatantly blasphemous. In order to properly defend His position, our Lord had to base His defense on the Book of Deuteronomy, which said, “One witness alone shall not take the stand in regard to any offense a man may be guilty of; a judicial fact shall be established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deut.19:15). So Jesus cited four witnesses to testify to the truth of His claim. First was John the Baptist, who said, “I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God” (Jn.1:14). But more important than the Baptist’s testimony was the second witness: the miracles that Jesus had been performing according to the will of His Father. Thousands had witnessed these. His heavenly Father Himself was His third witness, first in the river Jordan, then when He was transfigured on a mountain, when God’s voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk.3:22, Mt.17:5). Finally, Jesus cited the Scripture, particularly the writings of Moses as His fourth witness. Then He explained to them why the Jews could not accept His testimony, even though the evidences of His deity were already staring them in the face. It was the lack of God’s love in their hearts. They (the Jewish leaders) preferred the praise of men than the appreciation of God. Their pride and hypocrisy prevented them from discerning that the Scripture (Old Testament) writings were all testimonies about Jesus, the Messiah, Son of God.

Ironically, we are far more fortunate than the Jews in comprehending the totality of the Scriptures (both Old and New), even though the Son of God Himself walked with them, and they witnessed firsthand His wondrous words and works. This is because we have the Gospel accounts, the Acts and the epistles (letters) that fully explain the prophecies of the Old Testament writings as they point to Jesus as the Word of God, the fulfillment of His promised salvation of mankind. The Jews were (and still are) handicapped by their traditional monotheistic belief. They believed in only one God, Yahweh, and up to the present time, they are still in exile from the truth that the Messiah had already come, and by the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word, the true faith of Christianity has already spread to all the corners of the world, and the truth of Jesus’ words has come about: “Those who are first shall be the last.”

We give You thanks, loving Father, because You have revealed Your salvation plan to us, through our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Grant that we may always remain faithful to His teachings in the Gospel, so that we may fully comprehend Your plan and will in our life, as we prepare for His Second Coming. Amen.

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