In the Gospel According to John, the author, the Apostle John, goes to great lengths to give us an honest and true account of the events surrounding Jesus and His ministry and Deity. He takes very seriously the requirement under Jewish law and practice to establish witnesses. The operating principle is recorded in Matthew 18:16, when Jesus speaks saying:
“But if he will not hear you, take one or two more with you, so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”
In other words, we need two of three witness to establish anything. This principle is based on the Old Testament Law of Deuteronomy 19:15 which reads:
“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins. At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be made sure.”
This was a very important law, such that God gave directions on how to deal with those who broke, or appeared to break, this law. As Deuteronomy 19:16-20 continues:
“If a false witness rises up against any man to testify a falling away against him, then both the men who are disagreeing shall stand before Jehovah, before the priests and the judges which shall be in those days.
And the judges shall make careful inquiry. And behold, if the witness is a false witness and has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he had thought to have done to his brother. So you shall put the evil away from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and shall commit from then on no such evil among you.”
As I understand, the purpose of this law was to seek to limit disagreement between God’s people, so that should a matter be brought before the whole church, these witnesses would be able to testify the truth of the case, and report the steps that had been taken, and what effect they had had; so that things being thus prepared, the case would appear plain and easy, and without difficulty. Our god is an orderly God.
Love and unity were preached by Jesus, and all Christians are certainly aware of the words from John 13:34 which Jesus spoke:
“I am giving you a new commandment to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
These words have their root in the Old Testament, as God gave His down His law in Leviticus 19:18 saying:
“You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.”
These words were deemed so important by the Apostle John that he included them again in Romans 13:9 saying:
“For the commandments, “You must not commit adultery; you must not murder; you must not steal; you must not covet,” and every other commandment are summed up in this statement: “You must love your neighbour as yourself.”
Let us now look at the witnessing in John’s Gospel which attest directly to Jesus, His ministry and His Deity, proceeding in the order in which they appear:
John the Baptist: John 1:6-8
“There was a man sent from God; his name was John.
This one came as a witness, to bear witness concerning the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”
Jesus’s Works: John 5:36
“But I have greater witness than that of John, for the works which the Father has given Me that I should finish them, the works which I do themselves witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.”
God the Father: John 5:37
“And He sending Me, the Father Himself, has borne witness of Me. Neither have you heard His voice at any time nor seen His shape.”
Scripture: John 5:39
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me.”
Jesus’s Words: John 8:18
“I am one who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness concerning Me.”
God the Spirit: John 15:26
“And when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me.”
Christ’s Disciples: John 15:27
“And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
As John established the Witness of Jesus, we need to remember that at the time of writing, many of those who saw Jesus perform miracles, who heard talked with Jesus and even those who were healed by Jesus, were still alive. By formally recording the witness, John and Jesus were establishing His credibility as they opened themselves to challenge. As history has it, however, there were no challenges and the Holy Bible became established as truth; a true account of the happenings of the time.
We were not there to see for ourselves, but by the testimony of witnesses who were there and which are recorded for us, we many stand on Faith, that all we read is true, in all ways and in all accounts. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith for us:
“Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.”
This definition still works for us today, assurance in that which we cannot see.
Why is this important? Well, because as First John 5:4 says “Our faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” Here we need to read “the world” with correct understanding, for it means the god of this world, Satan; the lusts which are in the world; the false prophets of this world; the wicked of the world, who by temptation, snares, evil doctrines, threats, promises, and ill examples, stop sinners from observing the commands of God.
But we, with Faith and belief in Jesus, are more than conquerors over all these, through Christ who has loved us first.
Amen and Amen.