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The Scriptorium

Witnesses to Christ

Do we join with these witnesses?

The Gospel of John: John 5.31-47

Read and meditate on John 5.31-47.

By the end of John 5, Jesus has put all the cards on the table – all His claims, purpose, promise, and authority – and He has called powerful and convincing witnesses to validate His claims.

            31What I witness to is not
the truth, if I bear witness of Myself.
32There is another witness, Someone else
who testifies of Me, and this I know:
His witness of Me is the truth. 33Just so,
you sent to John, and he bore witness to
the truth. 34And yet, men’s testimony do
I not receive; these things I say to you
that you may all be saved. 35He was a new
and burning, shining lamp, and in his light,
you for a time were willing to delight.
36But I a greater witness have than John:
the works the Father gave, and I have done,
bear witness of Me, that I have been sent
by Him. 37The Father, He Himself Who sent
Me, He has testified of Me. But you
have neither heard His voice at all, nor do
you see His form. 38His Word does not abide
in you at all, because you have denied
the One He sent, and in Him you do not
believe. 39You search the Scriptures, for you thought
in them eternal life for you might be;
and these are they which testify of Me.
40But you remain unwilling to believe
in Me, and thus do not true life receive.
41No honor do I have from men. 42But you
I know, and what I know is that you do
not have the love of God in you. 43I come
to you in God the Father’s Name, for from
Him I was sent, and you do not believe 
in Me. But you another will receive,
who comes in his own name. 44But how can you
believe, when all the honor you want to
receive is that which comes from men, and not
that honor which can come to you from God?
45And do not think that I accuse you to
the Father. Moses, whom you trust, is who
condemns you. 46If in him you had believed,
then, since He wrote of Me, you would receive
Me. 47But if Moses writings you will not
believe, nor will you hear what I have taught.”

- John 5.31-47

1.  Summarize the claims Jesus makes about Himself in this and the previous chapters of John’s gospel. Cite some other passages of Scripture to support those claims. Complete this prayer: Lord, as I go to be Your witness, I need to make sure I tell others Who You are. As I prepare for today’s witnessing opportunities…

2.  From what we’ve seen to this point in John 5, how would you describe Jesus’ purpose? Why did He come to earth? What was He doing, and why? You have sent me, Lord, in the same way You were sent (Jn. 20.21). Today, that will mean that I…

3.  Summarize the promise Jesus held out to those who heard Him. How would you share that promise with someone in your Personal Mission Field? What words would you use to make the promise intelligible and appealing? Help me, Lord, to understand Your promise, and the desires and aspirations of the people to whom You send me each day, so that I…

4.  To what authorities (or witnesses) has Jesus appealed in order to validate His claims, purpose, and promises? Is it important that we be clear about the authority we look to when we share the Good News of Jesus with others? Is it important that we help them examine the authorities undergirding their own worldview? Explain. I trust in You and Your Word, Lord! Help me to rely on Your authority not only for my witness, but for…

5.  Put yourself back into the Jerusalem and Judea of John 1-5. What’s the “buzz” going around about Jesus? How are people responding? What kind of “mood” is in the air? Compare this with how people think about Jesus in our day. What’s the difference? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.

“Someone might say, ‘What do you have to do with Moses when you broke the very sabbath that he ordained we should keep? How then does Moses accuse us? And why should we believe on someone else who comes in his own name? All these assertions you make have no evidence to back them up.’ Now in truth all these points are proved above. ‘For,’ [Christ would reply] ‘since it is acknowledged that I came from God by my works, by the voice of John and the testimony of the Father, it is certain that Moses too would condemn you.’ For Moses had said that if any one shall come doing miracles, leading people to God and foretelling the future with certainty, you must obey him. Now Christ had done all this.” John Chrysostom (344-407 AD)

What are you learning so far in the Gospel of John about your calling to be a witness for Christ? How do you prepare each day to carry out that calling?

Closing Prayer
Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
AndHis praise in the assembly of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand…

Psalm 149.1-6

Psalm 149 (Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.

Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace;
Show us the mercy of Your saving face.

Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand;
Publish His grace and wrath in every land!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better overall understanding of the focus, themes, narrative, flow, and application of God’s Word. Study at your own pace in this free, online course. For more information or to register, click here.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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