6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God,which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1 John 5:6-12 NIV)
Yesterday John reminded us that we have victory over death through Jesus as Messiah.
Back in chapter 1, John had clearly established his authority as the last remaining apostle of Christ, and as the spiritual patriarch to many of the churches across Asia Minor.
Today John focuses on not just his witness of Jesus as Messiah, but on God’s witness of the same.
God had clearly taught that any important matter must be attested by two or three witnesses to be official. Here is one example of God’s teaching on this principle of witnesses and testimony:
One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
(Deuteronomy 19:15 NIV)
John is certainly not accusing Jesus of a crime or offense. Contracts and covenants also required witnesses. Happy and joyous events like wedding ceremonies in John’s day (and in our day) also require witnesses.
John offers three witnesses to testify that Jesus is Messiah: the water, the blood, and the Spirit (vv. 6-8).
The water refers to Jesus’ baptism. Remember what happened immediately after Jesus was batpized by his cousin John the Baptizer?
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:16-17 NIV)
The blood refers to Jesus’ death for our sins. God did not speak as when He did after Jesus’ baptism. However, God did manifest himself through nature, so that even a pagan Roman soldier bore witness of Christ. Listen to Matthew’s account of Jesus’ death:
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27:50-54 NIV)
The Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit. Listen to Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit:
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.
(John 15:26 NIV)
John presents three witnesses from God Himself that Jesus is Messiah. John says that he could produce human witnesses, but God’s witness is far more impressive and compelling than anything he could offer (v. 9).
John concludes that we have a choice: Either we believe or deny that Jesus was fully God and fully human and thus is the Messiah (vv. 10-11). In verse 12, John minces no words: either we have eternal life based on Jesus as Messiah or we don’t.
God has given testimony that Jesus is His Son. The choice to accept or deny Jesus as our Messiah is ours to make.
We must choose carefully and deeply, with our whole heart – the stakes are eternal.