This week as I’m reading through John chapter 5:30-40, I noticed the words “witness” and “testimony” over and over again.
“I [Jesus] can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 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. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:30-40 ESV)
When a word or idea is used repeatedly, it catches my attention. In looking on my Blue Letter Bible app, I easily discovered that both the noun and verb here have the same root from where we get our English word, “martyr.” [“martyreo” (verb), means: “to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration, while “martyria” (noun) means “what one testifies, testimony, i.e., before a judge.”]
In looking again at this passage, I notice that Jesus admits that if He alone bore witness about Himself, then we wouldn’t be expected to trust Him. (John 5:31)
This reminds me of a recent comment by a parent of one of my VIPKID students. She said that she couldn’t trust a teacher’s own biographical comments, because they said it about themselves. Rather, she wants to read comments by other parents who have taken classes with that teacher.
She wants to hear the testimony of other witnesses because it’s hard for her to trust an unknown teacher’s self-proclaimed praise.
God knew that people would feel this way. In fact, we ought to doubt people who sing their own praise. So, in God’s great mercy, He provided four additional witnesses about Jesus.
- John the baptizer bore witness about Jesus. (John 5:33)
- Jesus’s works bore witness about Jesus. (John 5:36)
- God the Father bore witness about Jesus. (John 5:37)
- The Scriptures bore witness about Jesus. (John 5:39)
But now, let’s look at an additional witness about Jesus that God has prepared: His followers. Look with me at Acts 1:8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
God desired for the 1st century disciples of Jesus to go out as His witnesses to what they had seen with their eyes, heard with their ears, and believed with their hearts. And God desires for us as 21st century disciples of Jesus to go out as His witnesses to what we have seen with our eyes, heard with our ears and believed with our hearts.
If you’d like to read my own eyewitness testimony of coming to faith in Jesus, I’d love for you to get a copy of my new book, God is Real: The Eyewitness Testimony of a Former Atheist. You can buy it on Amazon in paperback or Kindle, or order it at your local bookstore.
If you’d like some help in how to share your testimony, I’d love to help you! Leave me a comment below.