Short Meditations in John 3: 31. A Valid Testimony
Jn 3:32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
John, the apostle, is strong on this idea of witnesses. He lived in a period where probably all of the other twelve had now passed away and he was a lone witness to exactly what had happened with Jesus. Hence in his letter we have this sort of language of John’s own testimony: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it.” (1 Jn 1:1,2) He goes to great lengths to say, ‘This happened in time-space history and I saw it! This is not made up.’
When he came to speak about John the Baptist, he said, “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light,” (Jn 1:7,8) and later, “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was,” (Jn 1:19) and then, “Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.” (Jn 1:32)
When it came to Jesus, as he spoke with Nicodemus, he said, “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. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” (Jn 3:11-13)
Now we have just seen, “The one who comes from above is above all.” (Jn 3:31) Referring to Jesus, now the writer (or John the Baptist) declares, “He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.” (Jn 3:32) We have already just seen Jesus chiding Nicodemus for not accepting his testimony. In the general passage following we saw, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (Jn 3:19).
Again and again we get this same thing. We should have listened to Jesus because he had come from heaven and knew what he was saying but instead, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (Jn 1:10,11) We’ll see later in the gospel, when Jesus speaks about being the bread of life that came down from heaven, the listening Jews rejected what he was saying.