David Icke was a familiar face on the BBC during the 1980s. He was a former professional footballer who went on to carve out for himself a successful career as a sports broadcaster and was widely respected. All of this changed in March 1991 when he held a press conference where he claimed to be a ‘Son of the Godhead’ and that the world would end in 1997. He appeared a month later on the BBC nightly chat show Wogan wearing a shell suit. It was difficult to watch and the audience were openly laughing at him.
In yesterday’s passage we saw Jesus make some amazing claims but if we are honest, we have to admit that Jesus was not the first and certainly not the last person to make such claims. The difference with Jesus is that he has compelling witnesses who speak for him.
Jesus will later speak for himself (8:14) but here he uses legal arguments and so calls four other witnesses;
- John the Baptist (5:33-35). The authorities had sent a delegation to hear John (1:19). He had made it clear; he was not the Messiah but one sent to prepare the way for him. He had also identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John witness was clear; Jesus was the Messiah.
- The signs (5:36). The miracles performed by Jesus spoke that he was from the Father. Nicodemus, Israel’s teacher, came to Jesus and asked questions on the basis of the signs Jesus did pointed undeniably to the fact he came from God (3:2)
- The Father (5:37-38). At his baptism there was a voice from heaven; “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
- The Scriptures 5:39-40). “These are the Scriptures that testify about me” (5:39). We have seen it in Genesis and the Psalms but actually it is all through the Old Testament; the Scriptures testify about Jesus.
The authorities had a very high view of Scripture but in truth they were not seeking to understand them; they were using them for their own ends and ultimately it would be the Scriptures that would condemn them.
We are building up a picture of Jesus from John’s Gospel. We have to face the fact that his claims are true and that has implications for us. Our only appropriate response is to bow down and worship him.
“You are God in heaven
And here am I on earth,
So I’ll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You.
And I’ll stand in awe of You,
Yes I’ll stand in awe of You,
And I’ll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You.” (Matt Redman)