A FIVE-FOLD TESTIMONY TO DEITY
by Wayne S. Walker
In John 5:31-47 Jesus calls to the stand five witnesses of His divine Sonship–Himself, John the Baptist, His miracles, God the Father, and the scriptural prophecies. This will furnish us with an excellent outline by which we can examine the evidences for His godhood.
The first is Jesus Himself. "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true" (John 5:31). Jesus did not rely solely on His own testimony. If He did, then His witness would not be true. However, since there are corroborating witnesses, His testimony is true (John 8:13-18). The witness that He gives for Himself is unmistakable. He claimed sinless perfection (John 8:46). He claimed to have all religious authority (Matthew 28:18). He claimed to be the only-begotten SOn of God, not just a human som or a born-again son (John 3:16). He claimed to be THE way, The truth, and THE life (John 14:6). He claimed to be the Savior of the world (Luke 19:10). And He claimed equality with God (John 10:30-33). This is what Jesus witnessed of Himself. And His testimony is confirmed by other witnesses.
The second is John the Baptist. "There is another who bears witness of Me….You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth" (John 8:32-33). What did John say about Jesus? He said that Jesus was before him, referring to His pre-existence, and that He was the Lamb of God (John 1:15, 29-30). How did John know this? It was by divine revelation from God (John 1:32-34). But why should we believe John’s witness? One reason is his unparalleled humility (John 1:19-27, 3:27-30). If John were lying, He would like to his own advantage. Another reason is his fearless integrity (see Mark 6:17-20). He was not afraid to tell the truth even when his life was at stake. We can believe a man like John.
The third witness is the works or miracles of Jesus. "But I have 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" (John 5:36). Jesus certainly believed that He did miracles and appealed to them to establish His identity (Matthew 11:2-6). The apostles preached that He did miracles, and the Jews never tried to refute their claims (Acts 2:22). Even teh Jewish rulers recognized His miraculous power (Matthew 12:22-26, John 3:1-2). And these miracles are recorded for us by eyewitnesses (John 20:30-31, 1 John 1:1-4). Miracles do not in and of themselves prove deity; otherwise Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and the apostles would all have to be considered God. However, they do confirm Jesus’s message that He was the Messiah, the Son of God.
The fourth witness is God the Father. "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form" (John 5:37). Three times God directly testified of Jesus–at His baptism (Matthew 3:137-17); at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5); and for His glorification (John 12:23-30). And we have Peter’s own eyewitness account regarding the transifguration (2 Peter 1:16-18). But the Father also indirectly testified to Christ’s deity by giving Him power over sin (Mark 2:5-10) and by raising Him from the dead (John 10:17-18). Sometimes people say, "If God Himself would speak from heaven, I would believe." He did!
The fifth witness is the Old Testament scriptures. "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me….For if ye believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me" (John 5:39, 46). Indeed, Moses wrote of Christ as the "Prophet" who would come (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Jesus Himself claimed to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah (Luke 24:25-27, 44-48). And His apostles appealed to the prophets’ testimony as evidence of Christ’s Sonship, including the prophecy of Moses (Acts 3:24-26). There are some 332 clear Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, and Jesus fulfilled every one of them.
So here is the Lord’s case, a five-fold testimony to His divine Sonship–Himself, John the Baptist, His miracles, the Father, and the prophecies of scripture. It is an overwhelmingly solid case, and the verdict is irresistable to the honest heart. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. (—taken from With All Boldness; Apr., 2001; Vol. 11, No. 4; p. 18)