It was almost like a courtroom drama: Jesus vs. the Religious Leaders.
Jesus called His witnesses, each one adding another layer of validity to His claim to be Messiah. In some circles, those who do not read the record carefully will make the statement that Jesus never claimed to be Messiah or the Son of God. These were titles forced on Him by those who followed Him. Nonsense. Here we have the inspired record of Jesus pleading His own case with four witnesses to back His claim.
Witness Number One: John the Baptist
The Prophet Isaiah had predicted that Messiah would be preceded by a Forerunner. John came in the power of the Spirit to the Judean wilderness quoting the very words of Isaiah, calling people to prepare the way of the Lord. He even proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. Jesus called him a “burning and shining lamp.” He was a witness known by all.
Witness Number Two: Miraculous Works and Messianic Deeds
The stories were many and each one based in truth:
- Jesus turned water into wine at Cana.
- In Capernaum, He cured a nobleman’s fevered son with just a word.
- In Jerusalem at the pool of Bethesda, a man lame for 38 years was made to walk again at Jesus’ command.
- Doubtless there were other stories of other miracles John did not record.
- Jesus boldly drove wicked merchants from the Temple, reforming the worship of Jehovah.
- And, truly amazing, Jesus violated the racial norms of the day to teach the Samaritans the truths of God for two whole days.
These deeds bore powerful, undeniable witness to the claims of Jesus.
Witness Number Three: The Father Himself
The Word of God was never restricted to dusty scrolls, filed away in the Temple or in local synagogues. The Father’s Word took root in the heart of those who heard it just as if God Himself were speaking. Actually this awareness of the witness of the Father in the believer’s heart was the dividing line between those who heard both John and Jesus and those who didn’t. Jesus made this clear:
“You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.”
This was a faithful witness the other side refused to hear.
Witness Number Four: The Written Word
Finally, Jesus called upon the witness of the written Word of God, He referred to it simply as, “Moses.”
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
The whole record was about Him. There were prophesies to be memorized and believed, especially when the Messiah walked among them.
Witnesses for the Ages
Four witnesses called and four testimonies given. Jesus made His case and today it still stands. Those who close the Old Testament cut themselves off from the whole truth of God. The whole book is about Jesus! The plan of God was not some emergency scheme devised when unforeseen events presented themselves. This was the plan for the ages, the metanarrative that sets us free to live this life and the one to come.
“If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish — the very works that I do — bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. “I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Lord Jesus, I believe Your story. I receive Your witnesses. I love the ministry of John the Baptist. I believe the amazing accounts of Your miracles. I hear the voice of the Father in my heart. I read and believe the witness of the Word. Your story is the one which defines my life and fuels my hope. Lord Jesus, I believe Your story. Amen.
I Love to Tell the Story
Words: Kate Hankey; Music: William G. Fischer;
1. I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
2. I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.
3. I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting to hear it, like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song,
’twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved