The Witness Bearer
John 5:31-40
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.…

We are not informed whether our Lord's opponents expressed their feelings, but knowing all things, He replied to their secret objections that the testimony was valid, inasmuch as He was not alone in bearing it (ver. 31). Such testimony could not be given by any man (ver. 34); it could be given so as to be on a footing of equality with His own only by "another" such as Himself, viz., the "Father." The testimony was —

1. "Of another," implying distinctness of personality, and yet equality of testimony in value.

2. That of the God of Truth, known to Christ, who is in the bosom of the Father as it cannot be known to men. Consider, then, the Father's testimony to Jesus by John.

I. THEY HAD SENT TO JOHN (ver. 33). Some of them, perhaps, had themselves been deputies (John 1:19). By taking this step they had manifested a high opinion of John's testimony. What authority, then, ought that testimony to have on the subject they had submitted to him?

II. JOHN BORE WITNESS TO THE TRUTH. John repudiated the Messiahship of himself, but announced Jesus as the "Lamb of God." Had they put by this testimony? They were now reminded of it.

III. THE AUTHORITY OF GOD'S TESTIMONY WAS NOT HIS, BUT THAT OF HIM THAT HAD SENT HIM (ver. 34). Man of himself was not equal to the task of witnessing to the glory of Christ. "No man knoweth the Son but the Father." Man may be employed to proclaim what God is pleased to communicate, but the authority is not his, but God's. John was sent from God to bear witness of the light. How vain, then, to speak of the authority of the Church in the Roman sense. It abides in the Word which she is commissioned to proclaim, and in that only.


1. He was a burning and shining lamp, a vessel prepared and ordained to diffuse light. The oil of grace in his heart was kindled from above, not from below. All ministers of Christ are of a similar character.

2. The Jews had rejoiced in this light, and had acknowledged John as a messenger from God. It was for a season only, however. John's ministry was short, and their willingness to rejoice in it was shorter still. When they found that he was the herald of no political deliverer, when they understood the conditions of entering the kingdom John predicted, and when he pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, they gave him up.Lessons:

1. Have we received the gospel as the Word of God? It is only when we hear God in the Word that we hear at all.

2. Were we once more willing to rejoice in the gospel than we are now?

(A. Beith, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

WEB: "If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid.

The Value of Light
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