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John 5:31 Witness

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John wrote about four who are a witness to Jesus Christ. John the Baptist; works of Jesus; the Father, Himself; and the witness of Scripture.

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John 5:31-47

31. “The word witness is a key word in John’s gospel; it is used forty-seven times. Jesus did bear witness to Himself, but He knew they would not accept it, so He called in three other witnesses.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 307)

“There is first an admission of a presupposition that is based on the accepted legal code of the Torah, the foundation book of the Jews who were Jesus’ opponents.” (Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002], 243)

Deuteronomy 19:15 tells us that there needs to be at least two witnesses in a matter.

“That principle was expected to be firmly observed, particularly in capital cases (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:16; cf. Hebrews 10:28), and that principle was accepted as a basic thesis by Jesus (Matthew 18:16; John 8:17) and by the early Christians like Paul (2 Corinthians 13:1).” (Borchert, 243)

“This passage opens, then, with Jesus’ admission that if he was the sole witness to his claim, it could have been legitimately judges as false. (Borchert, 244)

32. “The witness He is referring to here is not John the Baptist. They would immediately think that is the one to whom He is referring, but He makes it clear that He is not referring to a human witness, and that makes two witnesses for them to recognize.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 399)

Witness of John

33. “The first was John the Baptist (John 5:30-35), whom the religious leaders had interrogated carefully (John 1:15ff)…John told the people that Jesus was the Lord (John 1:23), the Lamb of God (John 1:29,36), and the Son of God (John 1:34).” (Wiersbe, 307)

John the Baptist “is one witness whom they knew.” (McGee, 399)

“He is referring to still another witness, and that makes two witnesses for them to recognize.” (McGee, 399)

34. “He is referring to still another Witness, not a human witness, and that makes two witnesses for them to recognize.” (McGee, 399)

35. “The themes of witness, light, and truth are all linked here in support of the claims of Jesus. But the reader is quickly reminded that the authority of Jesus is not dependent on human acknowledgment.” (Borchert, 245)

“Salvation is from God and is not based on mere human testimony.” (Borchert, 245)

Witness of Miracles

36. “Our Lord’s second witness was the witness of His miracles…Jesus made it clear that His works were the works of the Father (John 5:17-20; 14:10).” (Wiersbe, 308)

Witness of the Father

37. “The third witness Jesus calls to support his claim is the Father. This witness is admittedly difficult for the opponents to accept for at two reasons:

• The reference to this witness is to God’s self, and human beings do not generally have direct contact with God through the physical senses of hearing and seeing.
• 38. Their problem was that ‘his word’ was not ‘abiding’ in them.” (Borchert, 245)

Witness of Scripture

39. “‘You search the Scriptures.’ He’s making a statement; He is not urging them to do something. He tells them that they search the Scriptures thinking that in them they will find eternal life, but they don’t understand that the Scriptures testify of Jesus. Friend, you had better be careful so that you find Jesus in the Bible. If you don’t, then your search is in vain.” (McGee, 399)

What the opponents of Jesus “sought by their study of the Scriptures, Jesus said, could only be found in him, the one who gives eternal life (e.g., John 3:16; 17:2.” (Borchert, 246)

40. “But they would not accept his witness or his claims based on Scripture.” (Borchert, 246)

41. “If Jesus agreed to be the kind of Messiah the Jews wanted, providing miracles and food along with political and military power, He would receive honor from them. But He sought only to please God (vv. 19ff).” (MacArthur, 1371)

42. “This means the experience of God’s love for them as well as their expression of love for God. They claimed to love God, but their attitude toward Jesus Christ proved that their love was counterfeit.” (Wiersbe, 308)

43. “Because they rejected the true Son of God who came in the Father’s name, they would one day accept a false messiah, the Antichrist, who would come in his own name. If we reject that which is true, we will ultimately receive that which is false.” (Wiersbe, 308) 2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13).

44. “They looked for the applause of men…Each one wants to compliment the other rather than tell the truth of the Word of God.” (McGee, 400)


45. “Our Lord closed this penetrating sermon by warning the Jewish leaders that Moses, who they honored, would be their judge, not their savior. The very Scriptures that they used to defend their religion would one day bear witness against them.” (Wiersbe, 308)

46. “Jesus does not mention any specific passage in the five books of Moses although there are many (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:15; cf. 1:21;4:19; 6:14; 7:40, 52.” (MacArthur, 1371)

“Whatever the reference was, Moses’ openness to God’s leading was not evident in these followers, who claimed to rely on Moses.” (Borchert, 248)

47. “If Jesus’ accusers in fact did not obey/believe (follow the way of) Moses, who was their basic support for tradition, then why should anyone expect them to accept Jesus and his words?” (Borchert, 248)

“The witness of John the Baptist, the witness of the divine miracles, and the witness of the Word of God all unite to declare that Jesus Christ is indeed one with the Father and the very Son of God.” (Wiersbe, 309)

Do you want to live for Jesus?


Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002
Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004

The Son                                                                                    Feeding the Five Thousand

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