John 5.31-47 – Jesus continues his case

Jesus is continuing his defense, and basically his point is, “Why don’t you believe the people whom you trust and respect?”

He starts as if he’s in a court of law because, frankly, people are weighing his evidence as if they are judge and jury. “OK,” he says, “so you say I’m not allowed to testify on my own behalf, because I can say anything I want to about myself, even if it’s lying, right? Fine. I have other witnesses.” Well now my curiosity is piqued. Who else is HE going to call as a witness that he is God?

“Let’s start with John the Baptist,” Jesus says. The Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling body) had examined John and recognized him as trustworthy, and the Jewish people were strongly attracted to him as a prophet. So Jesus says, “John said I am the light of God (Jn. 1.7), and that I’m eternal (Jn. 1.15). He said I’m the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of the Lord (Jn. 1.23) and worthy of worship (Jn. 1.27). He called me the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1.29). He said the Spirit of God is upon me, and that I am God’s Chosen One (Jn. 1.34; 3.27-30).”

“But,” Jesus continues, “I’m not done. I have a witness even more substantial that John—God the Father Himself. The work that I’m doing proves that He sent me.” What works are these? The blind see, the lame walk, prisoners are set free, and the good news is preached to the poor. These are God’s work, and they’re my work. That God entrusts them to me should say something.

“God also talked about me in the Bible,” Jesus says. “That should also count as testimony. But I understand that only people who really follow God would recognize it.”

Well, to be honest, they didn’t buy it. He didn’t convince them with his case.

“Well,” Jesus concluded, “You have to decide for yourselves what you’re going to believe, and we’re all accountable for what we decide. But since you revere Moses so highly, it would make sense for you to believe what Moses wrote about me.”

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