Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Validity of Jesus' Testimony (Jn. 5:26-36)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 6 June 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 5:26-36

If Jesus was not God, He cannot give life and cannot judge. Yet the Bible says God gives Him the authority to judge ecause He was the Son of Man. Since only God has the authority to judge, why was the authority given to the Son of Man? This Son of Man is God in the flesh. He was unjustly treated when He came on earth. The most ironical thing about the court system on earth is that Christ in the flesh was judged by sinners who thought of themselves as righteous and treated the Righteous One as the sinner. The sinners were so bold that they judged the One who will one day judge the world.

Religion not only talks about morality, but also about afterlife and worship, or relationship with the Creator. Religion is a system of morality and worship. A religious system without one of these is incomplete. Confucius and Sakyamuni taught about morality but did nnot teach how to worship God. As a result, many people worship Confucius and Sakyamuni instead. Sakyamuni’s teaching is higher than Confucianism because Buddhism teaches about afterlife. Confucianism only teaches about this life.

Every religion takes some relative things and make them absolute truth. In all their claims, they lack the proper methodology. They never tell us how they arrive at the truth.

Jesus said, “If testify about Myself, My testimony is not valid.” Jesus implicitly meant that we can choose not to believe Him if his testimony is not valid, but if it is truth we have no excuse but to believe. Other than the truthfulness, the Bible also tell about what is valid with regard to testimony.

If you ask Socrates where he gets the truth, he would say it is universal. It means it is self-evident and everyone should know. In saying this, he separates himself from with subjective ideas who are self-absorbed and rely on their feelings.

Is the truth subjective or objective? Is it absolute or relative? Is it for one generation or for eternity? Will truth change because of cultural differences? If there are subjective things that cannot pass test of time and are produced by one culture but not other civilisation, it cannot be the truth.

If you ask Sakyamuni where he gets his teaching from, he will say he found it myself. He achieved enlightenment when meditating under the Bodhi tree. This implies that if I achieve a different enlightenment then I will be of a different camp. This cannot explain truth.

Confucius will say he does not know where truth comes from but he only passed down the wisdom from the ancients who are all dead. He genuinely seek the wisdom of the wise. He admitted he obtained his understanding from the ancient sages. He acknowledged his sources.

Socrates said it is self-evident. Plato said it is the result of one’s thinking. But we cannot just accept something as truth without knowing the source.

If you ask Mohamed, he will say that his teaching comes from revelation. This is similar to the Hebrew religion. This is where prophets are different from the religious leaders. There are over 4800 references in the Bible “Thus saith the Lord,…”. The prophets are not the truth, but they receive revelation from God. The content of their message is the truth and their method is by revelation. They speak because because they receive it from God. This is different from Plato (he thinks it out himself), or Laozi (he figures out Dao by himself). The things written by the prophets are all revelation from God.

You must know why you believe in Jesus. The Bible is built on revelation. The God of truth reveal the truth to men, therefore it stands the test of time and will not be afraid of philosophies of the world because they are the words of truth from God itself.

What about Quran? Mohamed said he received it through the angel Gabriel. This is different from the Old Testament. God use sinners to bear witness, not angel. Angels minister to Jesus but never preach the gospel. In the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets. Moses said, “Thus saith the Lord…”.

If you ask Jesus Christ where the truth comes from, He said if He testifies of Himself, His testimony is not valid. Christianity will not accept sole testimony. The Bible say not to entertain an accusation against an elder without testimony of two or three witnesses. From this angle you can see that all the cults come from singular testimony. All the founders are the sole testifiers. The Bible denies this method. God Himself never uses only one witness. He used four gospels, not one. The Son of God was not even an exception. As an example, He taught us not to accept a sole declaration.

His method was unusual. He declared that if He testified of Himself it is not valid. He did testify of Himself, but there are many other testimonies, and they are consistent with his testimony. So it has strong foundation.

He followed by saying there is another who testify of Him, John the Baptist. He did not preach arrogantly as a singular testimony. Since God denied the validity of one witness, even God’s Son would not use this method. There is one man who bear testimony of the light, he is not the light himself, but came to bear testimony of the truth. He was filled with the spirit of God in the womb. Apart from Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, he is the only one in the history of mankind filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb to death. John was a witness sent by God.

With what authority did Jesus tell the truth? He is the Truth in person. Christ is the God of truth appearing on earth, living among us, the Creator entering His created world to dwell with us. This paradoxical Jesus living on earth is a stumbling block to many, despised by many.

Jesus said he has testimony weightier than John’s. He said His works testified of Him. It is not just about saying it. Many people can only criticise others’ works but cannot do it themselves. However great a person is, is not dependent on what he says, but what he has done.

There are still more testimonies of Jesus Christ in the Scripture. In fact, there are 7 of them. Everyone testifies of themselves, whether cults or other religions. Only Jesus Christ did not testify of Himself alone. Here we can see the difference between singular and multiple testimonies.


At 10:13 AM, Blogger Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Mejlina Tjoa

You said "If Jesus was not God, He cannot give life and cannot judge."

However, in John 5 alone,
Jesus clearly shows that he is not Almighty GOD!

In John 5.19,30;
Jesus clearly says that he, Jesus, can do nothing of himself; I can of myself do nothing!

Now ask yourself?
How can Almighty GOD do nothing of Himself?? That's clearly impossible (Matt 19.26, Luke 1.37)

No, this isn't Almighty GOD talking.
This is a man talking.

Jesus of Nazareth was a man, who could do nothing of himself; everything he did do, was through the power of his GOD. He was a man appointed of GOD. [Acts 2.22]

Jesus' GOD was the ONE GOD, his Father;
hence GOD is both the GOD & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus identified his Father
as the only true GOD!
[John 17.3]

So, how could the man Jesus give life?
Answer: By the fact that Almighty GOD gave him life to give! [John 5.21]

How could the man Jesus judge if he is not GOD?
Answer: By the fact that Almighty GOD has appointed this man to be Judge.
[John 5.22, Acts 17.31, 10.42]
GOD ordained and appointed this man, His human Son to be the Judge of the quick & dead.

You said: "This Son of Man is God in the flesh. "

No! Son of man simply means a man, a human being.
And GOD specifically declared that He is not a Son of man. [Num 23.19]

Our Creator alone has immortality [1 Tim 6.16] which means He cannot die!
Rather it was the man Christ Jesus, GOD's Son, the one mediator [1 Tim 2.5] who died for our sins.

Therefore, Mejlina Tjoa, for more info on
who Jesus really is,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Mejlina Tjoa said...

Thanks for your comments, Adam. All your reference verses show that Jesus is 100% human, which is what Protestant Christianity believe in. On the other side of the coin, the Bible teaches He is divine too, which is what you do not believe in.

The debate has been around for centuries and is pretty comprehensive.


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