The Power of Testimony

… that he might bear witness of the light. John 1:6-8

God values testimonies. The kingdom of God makes good use of faithful witnesses who boldly testify about Jesus Christ. A witness’ words – either spoken or written – affirm God’s Truth. They help create faith in listeners and readers. That God should create a man called John for the sole purpose of being Jesus’ forerunner and witness tells us a lot about the value God places on testimony.

John’s Gospel too is a testimony. It’s the testimony of a man who claims he ‘beheld’ the glory of Jesus as the glory of the one and only Son of God (1:14). He saw and experienced Jesus’ miracles. He was an eye-witness to Jesus’ death on a cross (19:35). He saw the empty tomb and testified about meeting with the resurrected Lord (20:8; 21:2). The written record of his testimony generates faith in readers.

After listening to John the Baptizer, Andrew followed Jesus. Later, Andrew found Simon and testified to him, “We have found the Messiah.” (1:41) That testimony led Simon to Jesus. After Jesus called Philip to be His disciple, the latter went in search of Nathanael. Philip’s testimony to Nathanael was a little more elaborate although he did not have all the answers.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

John 1:45-46 ESV

The Samaritan woman who experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus rushed to her town and cried out, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” She rested her case on her experience with Christ. The paralytic at Bethsaida refused to testify of Jesus’ power; instead, he took sides with Jesus’ enemies (5:15-16, 18). On the other hand, the blind man whose sight was restored stood firmly in his testimony. In fact, the unschooled beggar used his testimony skillfully, by way of persuasive suggestion, to invite his interrogators to follow Jesus.

So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.” (9:17 ESV)

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”
He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him …
The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

John 9:24-27; 30-34 ESV

We get to appreciate the man’s boldness when we see how scared his elderly parents were to acknowledge that it was Jesus who healed their son who was born blind! Those who testify boldly pay a heavy price. The parents did not wish to be excommunicated. The bold witness was thrown out. But Jesus was waiting to receive him! (v. 35)

Jesus too made several claims about Himself. When the Jews accused him of bearing witness to himself, Jesus claimed that God the Father too bore witness for Him. In fact, the miracles that Jesus performed were given to Him by the Father. Those ‘works’ proved that God had sent him.

But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me …”

John 5:36; 10:25

In spite of the numerous signs that Jesus performed, the Jews chose to reject Him.

Jesus commanded His disciples to bear witness to Him. They would have the privilege of experiencing God’s indwelling presence through the Holy Spirit, ‘the Helper’.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

John 15:26-27

Words are unnecessary, we are told, in God’s service. Actions, they say, are everything. ‘Being’ a witness is more important than bearing witness, preachers say. But John’s Gospel helps us understand that the phrase silent witness is an oxymoron. How can one be a witness without bearing witness to something that he has seen or heard or experienced? Is there any place for a silent witness in a court of law?

Some might ask, “What about Lazarus? There’s no record of him saying Thank you to Jesus, let alone bearing witness of his resurrection from the dead.” In the case of Lazarus, the multitudes who witnessed his resurrection at Jesus’ command spread the word far and wide that people came from afar just to see the man. It’s the living who knew that the corpse was in the grave for four days, far beyond the possibility of resuscitation. What does a dead man know about time? Moreover, there is nothing that indicates that Lazarus was always mute about his new lease of life.

When was the last time you bore witness of Jesus Christ? You may not know much about Jesus or about the Bible. But if you have experienced Jesus’ work in your life, you can talk about Him. If people ask difficult questions, invite them to meet with Jesus in prayer, “Come and see!”

Freely have you received; freely give. If you liked this Bible study, please share it with your loved ones. Thank you.
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