The Gospel Witness
John 19:35
And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knows that he said true, that you might believe.

I. THE SIGHT — the whole crucifixion, but especially what constituted its essence as an evangelical fact, viz., the issue of blood and water, an emphatic testimony to the Redeemer's death. This is one of the most important texts of the Bible. If no one saw Christ die, how can we be sure that He did die; and unless we are sure of His death we are left in uncertainty as to His atonement and resurrection, and consequently as to our salvation and futurity. John saw a sight —

1. Most wonderful. Great is the mystery of godliness all through — nowhere more than here. That God should become incarnate is inexplicable, no less so that being incarnate He should die. Learn here —

(1)  The limits of human reason.

(2)  The very manhood of Christ.

2. Most painful — to all whose feelings are not utterly brutalized. The death-bed of an ordinary friend, or even a stranger, under the best circumstances, is sufficiently painful; but what must such a man as John have felt as he saw such a Friend nailed to the cruel tree? Learn here —

(1)  The inhumanity of man.

(2)  The feelings with which we should contemplate Christ crucified.

3. Most beneficent. Such a mysterious scene enacted, and such dreadful sufferings endured voluntarily, must have been for some adequate purpose. Martyrdom for truth falls far short of it. The only adequate motive is John 3:16; 1 John 2:2. God incarnate was crucified to save a world.


1. Such an event actually took place.

(1)  John could not have been mistaken; if the senses were deceptive here, when all was so striking, then they are trustworthy nowhere.

(2)  John was not a madman — his Gospel and Epistles are a sufficient proof of that.

(3)  John was not a deceiver; he suffered the loss of all things, and imperilled his life for the sheer sake of recording what he saw.

2. What took place John was bound to record.

(1)  Not simply as an important historical fact, although he had responsibilities here.

(2)  But as a display of Divine mercy, and the sole means of human salvation. "Woe is me," he might have said, "if I write not the gospel."

3. This record he knew to be true. Because —

(1)  He saw what he recorded.

(2)  He knew that he was a truthful man.

(3)  Reading what he had written he was sure that it was in accordance with the whole of the facts. Nothing essential was omitted; nothing false or superfluous was included.


1. Not personal display. John was a deep thinker and a graphic writer; but it was the furthest from his intention to pose as a philosopher, or to excite admiration as a rhetorician.

2. Not to excite emotion. How different the narrative from the scenic and heart-harrowing descriptions in books of devotion and pulpit declamations.

3. But to create belief. Hence the record is clear, earnest, tender, and full of subtle spiritual influence.Learn the qualifications of a true Gospel witness.

1. He must have actually seen what he endeavours to describe. Theory and hearsay are worthless here. There must be clear, positive experience of Christ crucified.

2. Fidelity. He must confine himself to what he has seen — not his fancies or speculations, but what he knows of Christ's love and salvation.

3. A sense of responsibility. He has a medicine that has cured him, and can cure every one. He is wicked therefore to keep it to himself.

4. A sincere and self-abnegating motive — not to court admirers but to win believers.

(J. W. Burn.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

WEB: He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe.

The Evidences of Truth
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