THE THREEFOLD WITNESS
What was the difference between His Messiahship and His Sonship? As Messiah, Jesus carried the anointing of the Holy Spirit to fulfil His mission. As the Son of God, He was the Father’s personal representative, revealing the nature of the Father because He and the Father are one. According to the requirement of Torah, there had to be two or three witnesses for a claim to be verified. In spite of the refusal of the religious leaders to recognise Him, Jesus appealed to three witnesses to ratify His identity and authenticate His claim:
- The testimony of John the Baptist
You have sent to John and He has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. (John 5: 33-35)
In what way did John bear testimony to Jesus as the Son of God?
Then John gave this testimony, ’I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.’ (John 1: 32-34)
- The testimony of the works themselves
Although John’s testimony was valid and acceptable as a witness to Jesus’s identity as the Son of God, Jesus drew attention to an even more powerful witness than John’s.
I have a testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. (John 5: 36)
Did He clarify what He classified as “work”? He said to His disciples in the Upper Room,
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least, believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. (John 14:11)
Part of His work was to do the miracles assigned to Him by the Father as proof that He was sent by the Father and that He was “in” the Father and the Father “in” Him.
- The testimony of the Father
The greatest testimony of all was the witness of the Father.
And the Father who sent me has Himself testified concerning me. (John 5: 37)
When did the Father bear witness to Jesus as His Son?
When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as He was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven; ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ (Luke 3: 21-22)
Three powerful, independent witnesses, whether the Jews liked it or not, were enough to authenticate Jesus as the Son of God.
No amount of positive witness would convince the religious leaders that Jesus was both Messiah and the Son of God. Whatever He said or did, they rejected as evidence of His identity. They even went as far as accusing Him of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub. Imagine that! Jesus showed them how ludicrous it was to attribute His power to the devil.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?’ (Matt. 12: 25-26)
Instead of His miracles giving them a reason to accuse Him of being in league with the devil, Jesus pointed out that they were the very reason to believe that God’s kingdom had come among them.
But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt. 12: 28)
What is the point of this testimony for us as believers? It is important that we have the absolute assurance that the one in whom we have put our confidence for time and eternity is reliable and trustworthy because our eternal destiny is at stake. Jesus pointed to His works – His miraculous intervention in the lives of people and in nature, even to raising the dead to life again, to reassure those who believe in Him that He is who He says He is – the Son of God.
We can have the utmost confidence in His promises because He revealed the power of the Holy Spirit through whom He lived, to do in us and through us what He did through Jesus.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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