John 5:31-47 English Standard Version (ESV)
31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Much like the disciples’ journey through the events they witnessed leading up to the cross, our journey through Lent travels through events and circumstances we just don’t understand while we are going through them. Lent is a season of shedding patterns and adopting new lifestyle rhythms, and that of jettisoning inaccurate images of God and seeing God anew as He really is.
Lent is a season of discovery, both of God and ourselves.
Jesus is saying we might be able to dismiss His words as those of a liar, but what are we going to do with the testimony of John, and what about the testimony of His work? And if the miracles we’ve seen with our own eyes (even today there are miracles all around us) aren’t enough to persuade, Jesus says His own Father has sent him. God gave Him this mission. Jesus is telling us the Father has endorsed Him and testified to Jesus being God’s own son sent by God to do the work of God. And Jesus says, if we had known Him, we’d recognize the Father.
Jesus is commenting forcefully here how the Jews have scoured the scriptures searching for God when Jesus was standing right before them. If they had truly seen Jesus, they would have seen God. So it goes with us.
Scripture points us to Jesus, the animating, enlivening source of all creation. The very man standing before them in plain view created it all!
And Jesus tells them and us, if another mere man comes to you, you’ll receive him but not me?!? We can almost feel how aghast He is by this response. Why is it that we live our lives more concerned with what others think of us than seeing Jesus? The glory and approval we seek in others’ eyes Jesus comes bearing in full force for us, pursuing us relentlessly, saying constantly, “Here I am. I love you.”
We all form inaccurate perceptions of who God is based on our upbringing, our theology and our worldview. But, Jesus tells us if we want to know who God the Father is we must know the Son.
During this season of Lent, what are some inaccurate images of God the Father you need to discard?
We are traveling through a desert of false perceptions on our way to the Golgotha these next couple weeks. As you consider Jesus and your relationship with Him, how does it make you feel to know that He is going to die on the cross for your behalf? I realize, as do you, this has already happened. But put yourself in the disciples’ sandals for a moment in prayer, imagine yourself talking with Jesus as your group journeys together. You and Jesus are simply having a conversation. Now imagine you have become aware this man, your friend who loves you, is going to die, and not only that, die specifically for you. Willingly. As you walk together what would you say to Him? Consider journaling how this makes you feel and a prayer of response to Jesus.
Image by Stan Wiechers