Meditations on Jesus in John’s Gospel : 35 : Jesus, the Sent One
Jn 5:36,37 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me.”
In a court room a testimony is the evidence of a witness to a person’s character and capability. A person who is asked to testify on behalf of another, is someone who knows that other and is able to speak up on their behalf to conform the sort of person they are. The question that is in so many people’s minds is who is Jesus? If the whole world would realize who he is, it would transform the world. The excuse that so many will use is, nobody told me, yet the truth is that the Bible is the world’s number one best seller and there are millions of copies in non-believers’ homes and the Bible brings us the evidence of Jesus.
John the Gospel writer, particularly, holds nothing back in his effort to convince his readers. For the people there in Jesus’ day one of the clearest witnesses to Jesus was John the Baptist, as we’ve seen in previous meditations. But, says Jesus, there is an even stronger witness who speaks and acts on my behalf, my heavenly Father. We’ve already seen a number of times the relationship between the Father and Son, and the way Jesus responded to the Father’s prompting to do the Father’s will. Here we see that again but with a different emphasis.
You want to know who I am, says Jesus? Then look at what I’m doing and you’ll realize where I must come from. Jesus’ words to John the Baptist’s disciples portray him well: “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Mt 11:4,5) Similarly in Luke’s Gospel in the synagogue in Capernaum Jesus read out and applied to himself the Isaiah prophecy: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18,19). Later on Jesus was to say, “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (Jn 10,37,38). Not sure who Jesus is? Look at the things he did, the healings, the raising people from the dead, the delivering people from demons, walking on water, turning water into wine, feeding thousands with a few loaves, all these things speak for themselves.
All these things point to one thing, says Jesus, that I am sent by my Father (i.e. God). Why? Well let the words of Nicodemus, leader, scholar and conservative Jew speak the answer: “Rabbi, 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” (Jn 3:2). No it’s more than that Nicodemus; this is the Son of God sent from heaven with a purpose, and with all the power and authority of heaven at his disposal. He’s got a purpose and it is to reveal his Father through the things he does. He’s been sent from heaven to reveal the Father and then die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Sometimes people feel their life is an accident. That isn’t true and it’s certainly not true of Jesus. He was and is the Son of God who has left his home in heaven, sent by the Father with a purpose decreed before the foundation of the world itself. He is the most purposeful figure in history, this Sent One!