JOHN 5:31-47 (NIV – UK)
Testimonies about Jesus
31 ‘If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 ‘You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 ‘I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish – the very works that I am doing – testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 ‘I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 ‘But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?’
THE BIBLE TESTIFIES ABOUT JESUS
Why have people down the ages devoted themselves to gaining access to Bibles? Why did the Reformers struggle for people to be able to read the Bible in their own language? Why do Christians today in the persecuted church put their lives at risk by even owning a Bible? The answer is simple. Jesus says:
‘These are the very Scriptures that testify about me’ (v. 39).
There are two dangers for us when it comes to reading the Bible:
1) That we would read the Bible in such a way as we actually come to worship the Bible itself and miss Jesus. This is what the Jewish leaders had been doing according to Jesus (v. 39-40).
2) That we would not read our Bibles very much at all.
Jesus is where we find life – and if we refuse to go to him, we have no life. Perhaps we are too busy – thinking we are busy living life – yet without going to Jesus any life we may be building is surely an illusion.
Reading the Bible is not an end in itself – it testifies to Jesus – even the Old Testament and the writings of Moses are speaking of Jesus (v. 46). We must be sure that when we read our Bible the words on the page are pointing beyond themselves to Jesus the giver of life.
Reading the Bible should not be a burden, but a joy – the more we read our Bible, the more we will want to read our Bible, as we are captivated and transformed by the words testifying about Jesus.
Question: Do you find reading the Bible a life-giving experience?