Yeshua Discusses His Authority
We pick up our study where we left of in our last post. Yeshua continues to defend Himself against the false accusations of Judeans for healing on the Shabbat. Recall some eighteen years earlier when Yeshua stayed behind in Yerushalayim to listen to the Rabbis, everyone who heard him was astonished at His insight and responses ~ Luke 2:47.
30 I can’t do a thing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is right; because I don’t seek my own desire, but the desire of the one who sent me. 31 “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not valid.
Yeshua cites the Tanakh principle, central to later Jewish law (both that of the rabbis and that of the Dead Sea Scrolls), that two witnesses are necessary to prove a (capital) case ~ Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15.
After discounting His own witness (v. 31), Yeshua names five witnesses to who He is: Yochanan the Immerser (vv. 32–35), Yeshua’s works (v. 36), the Father (vv. 37–38), the Tanakh (v. 39) and Moshe (vv. 45–47).
32 But there is someone else testifying on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he is making is valid—33 you have sent to Yochanan, and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I collect human testimony; rather, I say these things so that you might be saved. 35 He was a lamp burning and shining, and for a little while, you were willing to bask in his light.
The hand-held oil lamps of the Herodian period were too small to give forth much light (they typically produced as much as a candle), and thus one would symbolize only a small reflection of his light.
36 “But I have a testimony that is greater than Yochanan’s. For the things the Father has given me to do, the very things I am doing now, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37 “In addition, the Father who sent Me has Himself testified on my behalf. But you have never heard His voice or seen His shape; 38 moreover, His Word does not stay in you because you don’t trust the One He sent.
The Father who sent Me has Himself testified on My behalf. Compare Jeremiah 29:23, ‘“For I am the one who knows, and I am witness,’ says Adonai.” But these Judeans cannot receive the Father’s witness because His Word does not stay in them. This is due to their hard hearts that do not believe in God. The witness of the Father should be all that is necessary. Isra’el at Sinai supposedly saw His form and heard His voice and accepted His Word through His agent Moshe; Yeshua says that His own generation rejects the fuller revelation of God sent to them. Yeshua invites those who do not have the Word staying in them to search the Scriptures, just as the Jews of Berea later did (see Acts 17:11).
39 You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it, you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to Me, 40 but you won’t come to Me in order to have life!
Scripture said, “Do this, and you will live,” which Jewish teachers read as: “Do this, and you will have life in the world to come.” Thus, they believed that one had eternal life through the Scriptures; but Yeshua says that the Scriptures witness about Him. Hence, to reject Him is to disobey the Scriptures.
41 “I don’t collect praise from men, 42 but I do know you people – I know that you have no love for God in you! 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t accept Me; if someone else comes in his own name, him you will accept. 44 How can you trust? You’re busy collecting praise from each other instead of seeking praise from God only.
On the strength of what Yeshua has said, He now argues: (1) You do not have God’s love in you. (2) Instead, you seek honor from men and each other. (3) You refuse to come to Me (Yeshua) to have life because you prefer honor from each other and because you want to honor those who come in their own name, not in God’s name.
45 “But don’t think that it is I who will be your accuser before the Father. Do you know who will accuse you? Moshe, the very one you have counted on! 46 For if you really believed Moshe, you would believe me; because it was about me that he wrote. 47 But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” ~ Yochanan 5:30-47.
Yeshua saves for last the argument which would be the most meaningful to his hearers: Moshe wrote of Yeshua (see Lk 16:31, 24:44; Messianic Jews 11:26). Traditional Judaism denies this, but the early Messianic Jews often based their case for Yeshua’s Messiahship on Scripture passages, including those Moshe wrote, such as Genesis 49:10, Numbers 24:17, and Deuteronomy 18:15–18. Even within non-Messianic Judaism, all three refer to the Messiah. Therefore, says Yeshua, I don’t need to make a notable accusation because Moshe has done it already: if you don’t believe him, why would you believe me? (Compare Luke 16:31.)
Our next post will continue to examine the mounting opposition of the Jewish authorities when He Continues to Heal on the Shabbat.