The Second Witness of Who Jesus Is.

We are continuing the discussion of 3 witnesses or testimonies from God the Father that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The first verified witness was John the Baptist. Some who heard his message saw the fruit, but the majority rejected the message of John the Baptist.

John, the Gospel writer, details the next two witnesses beginning in John 5:36: “But the testimony I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

Here we see that beyond John the Baptist, the works which the Father has given to Jesus will testify about who Jesus is and that He has come from the Father. The grammar tells us that this was an appointment from eternity past. Jesus’ works are the second testimony from the Father, and the direct testimony of the Father is taken as a second form of this second witness of who Jesus is.

John outlines in verses 37 and 38 three particular indictments. These indictments will allow us to understand the depth of Christ and His works. The indictments are against the religious unbelief, those who were the religious leaders and who had studied the Scriptures and yet did not believe Jesus’ signs.

Indictment #1

The first indictment is “You have neither heard His voice at any time” (John 5:37). Immediately, the religious leaders who heard this would have recalled Exodus 33:11, where Moses recorded that God had spoken to him. Jesus is telling them, and they understood, that Jesus has been calling. They heard but weren’t truly listening.

Jesus is saying that if you don’t hear my voice, then you haven’t been listening to the voice of Moses himself. The meaning is that no matter how much they say they have studied and listen to Moses, they haven’t. Moses listened and obeyed Jesus, but those religious leaders didn’t.

Indictment #2

The second indictment is “nor seen His form” (John 5:37). This statement would’ve cut even deeper than the first indictment. In Genesis 32, Moses said there was one person who had seen the form of God. In this chapter, Jacob had wrestled with God the whole night, not knowing who it was. Then he asked him His name, but God said, "why is it you ask my name?" Jacob concluded that he had seen God face to face, yet his life was preserved.

Those who heard Jesus’ words would have recalled this chapter. They easily accept Jacob’s testimony as written by Moses that he had seen the form of God, but Jesus is here now. He is the one that wrestled with Jacob and dislocated his hip. However, they would have realized this if they really believed Moses’ words; they would have known Jesus was God.

Indictment #3

The third indictment is “you do not have His Word abiding in you” (John 5:38). The nature and purpose of the inspired Word of God is to discern the actual thoughts and intents of our hearts. The religious leaders would have known this and immediately thought of other Old Testament people. They would have known He was saying that they did not have God’s Word abiding in themselves like it did in those in the Scriptures.

The Word of God is the greatest possession of the person of faith. But for religious unbelievers, the Book of the Law was only an intellectual pursuit, instead of a schoolmaster unto Christ (Hebrews 1:1-13).

Application Points

Haven't the first 4 chapters of John done enough to verify that Jesus is the Son of God? How much more does the author have to do and say to prove that Jesus is who He says He is? Yet God gives us more layers of proof so that everyone can stand before the throne of Heaven on Judgment Day without excuse. These indictments are another layer that verifies that Jesus the Son is Divine.

  • Do you receive the testimony of the works of Jesus that display Jesus as God’s Son?
  • In John 5:39-47, Jesus explains that although the religious unbelievers were trusting in Moses and the Scriptures, they missed the point. These Scriptures were written to point our hearts to Jesus Christ, God the Son. Are you believing in the Old Testament or Moses as God’s Prophet, but missing that they were only a guide to seeing Jesus for who He is?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • John 2:11 – the first work which would define Jesus
  • Exodus 33:11
  • Genesis 32:30-31
  • Joshua 1:8-9
  • Psalm 19
  • Hebrews 1:8
  • Hebrews 1:1-13
  • Hebrews 4:12 – the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword
A Hymn to Encourage: "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" by Helen Howarth Lemmel

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Thro' death into life everlasting,
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion--
For more than conqu’rors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you--He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Quotes to Ponder

“Jesus does nothing more and nothing less than what the Father gives Him to do. The works He does are thus particularly and peculiarly divine. They are the works of God.”
– D. A. Carson

“These signs or works were never simply naked displays of power, still less neat conjuring tricks to impress the masses. But they are signs – significant displays of power that point beyond themselves to deeper realities. Not without eyes of faith could they be perceived.”
– D. A. Carson