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Friday, September 23, 2016

Day 161: John 5:30-47 & Psalm 16 - What Witnesses Did Jesus Offer to Support His Claim to be the Son of God?

Today's Reading: John 5:30-47 & Psalm 16

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What Witnesses Did Jesus Offer to Support His Claim to be the Son of God?

"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." - John 5:36-37, ESV

It's no secret that many, many people over the centuries have claimed to be special prophets, messiahs, divine messengers, etc. So, why should we believe in Jesus, that He alone is the Christ, the Son of God? 

Well, one compelling reason that comes to mind from today's passage is the fact that Jesus did not ask anyone to simply trust Him blindly without any evidence or supporting testimony. False prophets and messiahs rely on their compelling, charismatic personalities to convince people to follow them. No outside verification of any of their claims is ever welcome. 

Though Jesus was the Son of God, He respected the need for those around Him to have some verification, confirmation and support of His claim to be sent by God into the world as the Messiah. In today's passage, He says "If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true." Then, He points to four witnesses that support Him:

1. John the Baptist: "You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth." - v. 33. John publicly bore witness to Jesus on different occasions, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God!" (John 1:29 & 36) 

2. His public miracles: "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." - v. 36. Jesus repeatedly did great works - miracles - for all to see His power and divine authority. This is something no false prophet or pretend Messiah could ever do.

3. God the Father: "And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. " - v. 37. Jesus said that His works were not just witnesses in and of themselves, but they also pointed to the witness of the Father, who had given Him the power to do the works.

4. The Scriptures (the Old Testament): "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me." - v. 39. Finally, and most powerfully, Jesus pointed to the witness of the Scriptures, written hundreds of years before His birth, which testified about Him: born of the line of David (2 Sam. 7) in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and doing all of the works specifically named in Isaiah.

God is the Creator of our reason, and faith is not contrary to reason. Jesus invites us to investigate, consider and then believe. Beware false prophets who ask for trust without verification! Jesus loves us too much to manipulate us in this way.

Prayer Based on Psalm 16:

Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge.
I say to You, O Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from You.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
Lord, let me love and rejoice in my brothers and sisters in Christ!

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
Let me not envy the world and its ways,
    but let me see how empty and vain are the world's idols.
Keep my heart from idols, O Lord!

You, O Lord, are my chosen portion and my cup;
    You hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
You have stored up in heaven for me,
    treasure which neither moth nor rust can destroy.

I bless You, O Lord, for You give me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me,
    as I meditate on Your word.
I have set Your Son always before me;
    because King Jesus is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    just as You did not let Your Holy One see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.      

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