Short Meditations in John 8: 18. Father & Son Testify
Jn 8:18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”
You want two testimonies? Very well, me and my Father. At the risk of appearing lazy, we need to repeat what we said earlier in Study no.13 when back in chapter 7, Jesus spoke of his authority as having come from the Father: “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” (Jn 7:28,29) He implied that God gave him credence through the authority He gave him and the miracles He enabled him to do. Later, on the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter would declare, “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him.” (Acts 2:22) Later on, Jesus himself is going to say, “even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (Jn 10:38)
Now what is remarkable is that in John’s Gospel the word father appears 105 times, 13 of them using small ‘f’ referring to ordinary fathers, the rest with capital ‘F’ referring to the Father in heaven, i.e. 95 times the link is made between Jesus and his Father in heaven.
The other feature is the number of times Jesus spoke of having been sent by the Father (4:34, 5:23,30,36,37,38, 6:29,38,39,57, 7:16,28,29,33, 8:16,18,26,29,42, 9:4, 10:36, 11:42, 12:44,45,49, 13:20. 14:24, 15:21, 17:3,8,18,21,23,25, 20:21. i.e. 35 times! It comes up so many times that it is clear that Jesus is seeking to convey, a) he is from heaven, b) he comes with heaven’s mandate and authority and therefore, c) to reject him is to reject God. We very often pick up on the ‘I am’ sayings in John that show Jesus is claiming divinity, but this many times referring to having been sent by God must go far beyond just being sent like John the Baptist was sent with a task, because this sending is again and again linked with this reference to the Father.
How casually we read the Bible sometimes. I confess that before these studies I had never before realized how many times John used the word ‘testify’ in respect of Jesus, and certainly never realized how many times he referred to ‘the Father’ or having been sent by Him. John ensures that when we read carefully we will see the amazing link that is made between Father and Son, a link never seen anywhere else in the religions of the world. This alone – apart from all the other things – separates Jesus out from any other world ‘religious leader’. Here is a unique relationship, a unique sending. Hallelujah!
Application: Have I come into the place where I am confident in the Father’s love for me, confident that He can say of me, “This is my son (daughter) of whom I am well pleased”? Ask Him to give you that confidence.