John 5:31-47



No one is accepted, or should be, as their own witness.

Jesus understands this includes himself.

Once again we see that God does not demand blind faith.

True faith always has evidence.

This is a biblical principle from Deuteronomy 19:15

            One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he    may have committed.  A matter must be established by the testimony of two or          three witnesses.”


“Valid” is “alhqhs” means “true, genuine”. 

a)      This may mean as the NIV translates it “not valid” meaning it is true but not defendable.

b)      But, the word “alhqhs” means “true” or “genuine” so Jesus may be saying self-testimony is “not true” or “not genuine” testimony

c)      Separation from the Father’s testimony by Jesus or anyone is a spiritual act of independence which would place that person on the side of those who are of the lie.

a.       8:50 – “

b.      5:43 – “If someone comes in his own name, you will accept him.”


See John 8:12-18


If Jesus’ incredible claim to be the Son of God is true there must be other evidence of the truth of this claim through out history, through out the universe, etc.

If there is no other evidence to this incredible claim that he is this eternal being that has entered time from eternity then his claim cannot be accepted as true.  Jesus knows this and is pointing it out because he knows the evidence of his identity is all around.




Who is the “other” that Jesus is referring to?  Options:

a)      John the Baptist

b)      God the Father


This other witness is God the Father.

Jesus does not tell us what God has done to testify in this verse but indicates that he is familiar with this testimony.

a)      Apparently the Jews are unfamiliar with God the Father’s testimony since Jesus doesn’t identify it.

b)      Jesus is has heard and accepts God the Father’s testimony.  Jesus uses this     testimony as validation for himself of who he is and of his own ministry.  The Jews cannot receive it because they do not know the Father.  Jesus said to the Jews:

“ ‘I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.’

“Then they asked him, ‘Where is your father?’”

“ ‘You do not know me or my Father,’ Jesus replied. ‘If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’ ”  (John 8:18-19)


Since the Jews cannot perceive or receive the testimony of the Father Jesus says there are others who agree with his testimony


The Jews had not been neglected by God because of their inability to perceive the testimony of the Father.  God sent them John the Baptist.


“You” is emphatic and makes this say, “You, even you, had a witness.”


“have sent” is perfect tense and not simply “sent” in the past tense.

This means “they have sent a delegation in the past and the information that this delegation discovered and brought back to the Jews remains with them as a continuing testimony to the Jews.”

a)      “sent” is the perfect tense of apostellw which means “to send, to send as an authoritative representative.”


“he has testified” – “testified” is also the perfect tense and is the perfect tense of the word “marturioV” or witness (memarturhken) which means that John the Baptist testimony was not simply in the past but a voice that  continued to testify. 

a)      An event in the perfect tense is “a completed action, the effects of which still continue in the present”


Weymouth’s translates this as “he both was and still is a witness to the truth.”



Jesus now gives a personal disclaimer to John’s testimony.

Jesus is saying that he did not need John’s testimony to identify himself.

This verse answers part of the question “Did Jesus know who he was?” Or “When did Jesus realize he was the Messiah?”  Part of the answer is “He did not find out from John the Baptist who he was, Jesus already knew and had some other source.”


John was a witness to the people who did not know who Jesus was and who could not perceive the Father’s testimony.



“John was a lamp that burned and gave light”

A lamp would burn until it ran out of oil or its wick was used up.

This idea is within Jesus words of “lamp” and “burned”.

John would burn up his life being a lamp that pointed to Jesus.

In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”


 o  THE      lucnoV LAMP – Notice the article.  This is not “a lamp” but “the lamp” and may be a reference to a particular lamp.   The Options would be:

a)      the candle stand in the tabernacle (this lamp represents Jesus)

b)      Some say this refers to a reference to a lamp in Psalms 132:17 – “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.”

c)      John was “the lamp” that would shine light on the Messiah like he was also “the voice”



“I” is emphatic to stress his emphasis on being separate from the ones debating him.


Greek says “greater than John” not “greater than that of John”

It says:  “I have testimony weightier than John.”


“works” is mentioned twice in the Greek “for the works which the Father has given me that I may finish themselves the works which I do.”


These works were used by Jesus to testify to John the Baptist who Jesus was in  Matthew 11:4 and Luke 7:22.


John 14:10, “It is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”



“has himself testified” in the past tense is most likely pointing to God’s testimony in the past history before the incarnation.  If Jesus were speaking of God testifying during his ministry he probably would have said this in the present tense.


Jesus finds confidence in the Father’s witness but realizes that the Jews will not recognize it.  This testimony makes Jesus able to with stand the rejection of the people.


They do not:

a)      hear his voice

b)      see his form

c)      have his word in themselves


Word” is logoV and means “rational expression” and revers to the revelation of God from God.



Why do they not “hear his voice”, “see his form”, or “have his word in them”?

“For” indicates this is the reason.

-         They “do not believe the one he sent.”

Interestingly, it says here that to receive God’s witness that Jesus is the Son you have to believe in Jesus.

This is also seen in Romans 8:16,

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

There is evidence for the unbeliever to believe, but after accepting Jesus there comes a greater testimony from God the Father and God the Spirit.


See 1 John 5:9-10



“You diligently study the Scriptures” could be indicative (voice of reality) or imperative (voice of command).


They read the words but never understood the meaning

They reverence the scriptures thinking the presence of the written words on the scroll provided them with life when really life is obtained when the meaning of scripture is understood in their souls.



The understanding of scriptures reveals Jesus but they refused Jesus.

This meant they had really gained nothing of eternal value from the scriptures.



“do not accept praise from men” means he does not recognize it and it does not affect the way he thinks, speaks or acts.



The reason he does not accept or consider their opinion of him worthy is because he knows them.  They do not have the heart of God.



“I” is emphatic


“”someone else comes in his own name” could be:

a)      Bar-Koseba in 132 AD

b)      The Anti-christ

c)      A general statement referring  to anyone who comes but Jesus

d)      There are at least 64 identifiable potential messiah’s who have been recorded in Jewish history

e)      Satan





The Jews followed Moses to follow God.

Moses was their claim to knowing God and truth

Jesus turns this on them.

Moses “is” in the present tense, their current accuser.

They claimed to follow Moses in 9:29