The First Witness to Seeing Jesus For Who He is.

Recognizing Jesus as God

The world likes to highlight the virtues of Christ’s humanity, his mercy, compassion and sincerity. But rarely do they want to speak of His deity. We know that the book of John was written so that we might believe that Jesus is the eternal son of God, and that believing we might have life in His name.

The most simple verse ever written in Scripture that encapsulates the Gospel is found in the book of 1 John, written by the same author but later in the New Testament. John states in all one-syllable words: "He that has the Son, has life. He that does not have the Son, does not have life" (1 John 1:5). Isn’t it glorious that your Creator made the understanding of your salvation so simple?

Unbelief has no problem accepting Jesus the man. Religious unbelievers of Jesus’ time, including His own family members, had no problem accepting Jesus’ works, signs and words as coming from a rabbi, teacher, good friend and wonderful family member. However, they refused to accept Him as Deity, as God. Therefore, they remained enemies of God.

This is why John writes many times in the Gospel of John, that many believed in His works but rejected His deity. One of many passages is in John 12:36. They had no problem with His person, yet did not believe in His ability to save.

Jesus the I AM

In the Old Testament when Moses asks God, "Who shall I say sent me?" the Father replies to tell them, I AM (Exodus 3:13-15). This is where Jehovah, the Old Testament name for God, is derived. This I AM is also where the New Testament Greek name for Jesus, LORD, is derived. So over 500 times in the Gospels alone, Jesus is named God just by way of His name, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus also declares Himself as God by using seven I AM statements. These I AM statements, like “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Door,” and others, show Jesus declaring His deity.

Jesus uses various statements to proclaim Himself as God. In John 5:17, Jesus says, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” This is a claim to be God, by saying that He and the Father have understood the Mosaic sabbath and have understood it from the beginning. The Jews wanted to kill Him for making God His Father, therefore making Himself equal with Him.

In John 5:24, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” These words state Jesus is eternally one with the Father and His message, and the Father Himself has given Jesus the authority to save.

In John 5:30-31, Jesus says, “I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. There is another who testifies about Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.”

Jesus is claiming that He makes no decision on His own. As He receives from the Father and hears from the Father, so He judges and He acts. Jesus is saying that the Father sent Him and that His will and the Father’s will are the same will.

The Father testifies about Jesus (verse 33), but there are others who testify about Jesus. We will look at the first of three witnesses today.

God’s First Witness: John the Baptist

In Jewish culture and in the Mosaic law, truth could only be confirmed by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses. A witness is a testimony; a testimony is a witness. God is going to confirm that Jesus is His Son by bringing forth John the Baptist as a witness.

John the Baptist was God’s Witness (John 5:33-35)

“You have sent messengers to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and shining, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”

John the Baptist was given a message by the Father of Christ. This makes John the Baptist God’s witness, a proclaimer of Jesus, the Son of God.

John the Baptist was the Forerunner

God noted through prophecy who would be the forerunner of Christ 700 years before Jesus came on the scene of human history. In Isaiah 40:3, Isaiah tells us that John the Baptist would be the one to prepare the way of the Lord.

Luke 1:17, describing the coming birth of John the Baptist, says “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

In Matthew 3:13-17, we have an account of John the Baptist, the forerunner, baptizing Christ. Besides Jesus and John the Baptist, we don’t know who heard God the Father speaking of Jesus as His Beloved Son in Whom He was well-pleased. But we know John was in the baptism waters while the Father gave His approval of Jesus the Son.

John preached the good news of the coming Savior and thousands of people would come to hear him and be saved. The religious leaders were also listening. However, they denied his message, his witness about who Jesus Christ is.

Application Points

Jesus is to be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

  • Have you received Jesus, the Divine Testimony of God? Have you been saved by Him? Is your heart at rest? Is it at peace?
  • Have you considered Christ as God or only as Jesus the man?
  • Our unbelief can never be from the lack of evidence. There is plenty of evidence. Looking around at the people of God will give you plenty of evidence: people with changed lives who used to see Jesus as a good human, then bowed their knee to Him as a good God.
  • Our unbelief can never be because of the lack of testimony.
  • Our unbelief can never be because of the lack of sufficient sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for the sins of the entire world according to John 3 and 1 John 2:1-3, among many other Bible passages.
  • Our unbelief can never be because of the lack of simplicity in the message of who Jesus is.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Luke 1:5-20
  • Isaiah 40:3
  • Matthew 3:13-17
  • John 17 - Jesus’ mission was to fulfill the will of the Father
  • Acts 1:8 - Jesus calls us His witnesses
  • 1 John 2