Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jesus is the Son of God: Three Witnesses, Come Forth! (1 John 5:6-8)

[Jesus] Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross – not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses – the Spirit, the water, and the blood – and all three agree
(1 John 5:6-8, NLT)

Not only we can “achieve victory through our faith” (1 John 5:4), but we can know for sure that our faith are correct and base on facts! The Apostle John has mentioned that we need to believe that Jesus “is the Son of God” (5:5), God became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). But how can we know for sure that this is true? You know how important it is to have more than one witness when there has been an accident or a crime. This has been true in courts for many centuries. As in Deuteronomy 19:15, “…The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses”. Well, John realizes that we would be surer about our faith if there was more than one witness to verify these faith-beliefs. So he mentions three keys witnesses to our beliefs about Jesus:

Witness #1: The (Holy) Spirit. Again and again in the New Testament we read that “the Spirit” opens our eyes to the truth, that the Spirit will help us realize that Jesus “God’s Son”. The Spirit is an inner witness to what we hear and see. For example, in John 15:26, Lord Jesus says that the Spirit “will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me”; the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit” (see also John 16:13-14; Romans 8:14-16). In other words, we do not just come to the conclusion in our heads that Jesus God’s Son; we also have an inner witness, a divine Person that helps us know that this is true.

Witness #2: The water. There is some disagreement over what John meant here. Since John says that Jesus came “not by water only,” some people, in fact I think that he is referring to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (read Matthew 3:13-17). A voice came from heaven as Jesus was being baptized by water at the Jordan River and said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:17). That experience certainly would have been a witness to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Soon after this event Jesus began His ministry. Others suggest that the reference to “water” is really to Christian being baptized, which is also a witness to the work of Jesus in our lives. This again would be a witness that we make as we are baptized. Some others suggest that “water” refers to Jesus’ birth, I doubt it.

Note: You could probably build a case for either position. But it seems to me that the first interpretation – that the baptism of Jesus was a witness to His being God’s Son – make the most sense, for this was an outward, obvious witness to all who saw Jesus being baptized. They saw Him baptized; they saw the Spirit come in the form of a dove; and they heard God’s voice announcing that Jesus was truly “God’s Son.” This idea, in the context of this passage, makes the most sense to me.

Witness #3: The blood. This witness was the death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins [In theological term this is called substitutionary atonement]. Jesus not only told us that He loved us; He showed that He meant what He said by giving His very life for us (see His love-actions in Matthew 27:50-54). A phony or liar would stop short of that action, saying, “Uhhh… I really love you, but dying is just too much…” No, Jesus went to His death, and later even came back to life – resurrection – so that we would know that what He had said and promised was really true!

We have these three witnesses:
The Spirit, the water, and the blood – and all three agree.
Agree about what? That Jesus is really the Son of God. Amen!
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