Short Meditations in John 3: 10. Jesus’ Testimony
Jn 3:11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
There are times in Scripture where you expect it to go one direction and in fact it goes another. So far we have had Jesus challenging this Pharisee-leader to get a new Spirit-empowered life and Nicodemus has appeared slow to understand. His last response was , “How can this be?” (v.9) Now instead of spelling it out even more, Jesus pivots the conversation to focus on himself.
Before we take note in detail of what he says, we might simply note that when it comes to the Gospel many of us focus on principles but actually God wants us to focus on the person – Jesus. Yes, it is important for Nicodemus to be born again but before that can happen he has to realise who it is he has been speaking with. When we realise who Jesus is, then everything else takes on a different perspective. Realising who he is and where he has come from is the most important thing that we can ever learn in life. All else follows.
So Jesus turns the conversation with, “I tell you the truth.” That was a cultural way of emphasising the seriousness of what he was saying. It is like he is saying, “I’m not kidding you when I say….” What he is about to say is of utmost importance. The earlier Gospels focused on the things Jesus did and said in respect of God’s kingdom. John, with years of reflection behind him, remembers some of the things Jesus said about himself that revealed more of who he was than any of his teaching.
He speaks of himself with the royal ‘we’: “we speak of what we know.” That is a strong starting point. I’m not making this up, I know what I am talking about! He continues, “We testify to what we have seen.” Now that is a bit unclear and needs thinking about. What has he seen? Nicodemus had started out, “we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Nicodemus knew because of what he had seen with his eyes. Yes, Jesus knew because of where he had come from. Later in this Gospel John will recall Jesus’ speaking of having come down from heaven. This is just a hint towards that. Nicodemus has seen things on earth, but Jesus comes having seen things in heaven for that was his home to which he would eventually return.
Then he brings a full frontal challenge to Nicodemus: “but still you people do not accept our testimony”. The ‘you’ is plural and he clearly means the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin from where Nicodemus has come. Jesus comes bringing the most safe testimony possible; he is the perfect witness but Nicodemus doesn’t realise that yet.