Daily Word

Testimony of Works & the Father | John 5:36-38

36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.

John 5:36-38  (ESV)

More proof

As we’ve been seeing, Jesus is in the process of providing testimony (like in a courtroom) for why the Jews should believe Him, that He is the Messiah. Ultimately, they need to be convinced that they need to repent and believe in Him only. Yesterday we looked at the testimony of John the Baptist. Today we’ll address testimony from Jesus’ works and the Father.

Testimony of works

In v 36, it is almost like Jesus is saying, “And if John’s testimony isn’t enough, I’ve got even greater testimony. Consider the works the Father has given me to do. Remember not too long ago I was in Cana and turned the water to wine? How about healing the lame man in the temple? And there will be even greater works than these! 

Testimony of the Father

Next Jesus declares that the Father also testifies about Jesus. The hearts of some of His listeners are likely to (or already) believe. Others will believe later as they experience more miracles and teaching. Many will never believe due to hard hearts. 

What is the Father’s testimony? In general, it’s all through the OT. “But specifically, the Father testified of the Son in Old Testament prophecy and at the baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:22).” (enduringword.com) This is where the Father identifies Jesus as His beloved Son.

Tough love

In verse 37 Jesus states a fact – they haven’t seen God or His works as their ancestors had. God had been “silent” since the last prophets spoke. In v 38, however, Jesus rebukes them with tough love in His appeal to them to believe in Him. They don’t have scripture living in them. The Jews were great (and Orthodox ones still are) at memorizing scripture. But Jesus is saying that basically it’s just words and traditions – void of real meaning – void of faith. 

<- Reflection ->
  • How effective are miracles at influencing people to believe in Jesus? We’ll see later that though some believe in Him after miracles, most are not convinced and/or don’t believe unto salvation. They should convince but the heart is a difficult thing to change.
  • Is the truth of the Bible dwelling in you?
Father and son at birthday party

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