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The DEEP

Testify

that it's true.

1 John 5:6–8 (ESV)

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

What is the meaning of the water and the blood? Are they just symbols? Here are the clues.

  • The water and blood are ways Jesus came by.
  • They both testify to something.
  • What they testify to is important (presumably to the issues addressed in 1 John).
  • Jesus is he who came by water and blood, not just by water only, which would be normal.

Came by water and blood meaning His birth and His death and resurrection fit all four criteria.

  • His birth and resurrection are both arrivals heralded by angels.
  • Being born naturally testifies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, while His crucifixion and resurrection testifies to His Lordship.
  • Both are important, especially in the context of 1 John’s case against Docetism.
  • Being born naturally is the norm while Jesus coming back after being crucified is special.

And the Spirit ties this together perfectly.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, — 1 John 4:2 (ESV)


One of the questions I like to ask my students is, “What is the most important aspect of Christianity?”

I get a wide range of answers. Some are about Jesus and His atoning sacrifice. Others are about our glorious destiny. A few speak to the work of the church and how Christian fellowship works in practice.

But rarely do I hear my favorite— “It’s true.”

We don’t talk enough about Christianity being true. We like to talk about all the things that make Christianity attractive. But believing Christianity is, fundamentally, believing it’s true—that Jesus is risen from the dead and thus is Lord of all creation.

Today’s passage is about things that “testify” to that fact. In the first century, Christians used the word “testify” a lot. They didn’t just preach; they testified.

I like to say that the church needs to get back to the purity and glory of its early years. I normally mean that we need to get back to the purity and charity of Christian behavior that turned the world upside down.

But maybe that’s not at the heart of what was different back then. Maybe it was the focus on Christianity being true and testifying to that.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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