A Unique Witness-7th Day of Easter

1 John 5:9-13

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.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

On the day that I am preparing for the seventh, and last, Sunday of Easter this year, the news in the United States is brimming with details of our former president’s criminal trial. There hasn’t been this much popular attention on a court case since the trial of O.J. Simpson.

In the former president’s trial there are a number of documents that have been entered into evidence, but probably nothing as sensational as the glove of O.J. Simpson’s trial.

Anyway, in addition to physical evidence, the US judicial system gives weight to the testimony of witnesses. This has long been a fact. For so long, in fact, that the apostle John refers to this as we open our pericope. “We accept human testimony”, he says.

But, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that because of our prejudices and biases we may be more or less inclined to accept what those witnesses report – especially in such polarizing cases. But would that still be the case if our witness was more reliable than a human witness?

John isn’t here to talk about human testimony. He quickly shifts to talk about God’s testimony specifically about God’s Son, Jesus. As we read this, it might bring to our minds how God spoke out of the clouds at Jesus’ baptism, ““You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased,” Luke 3:22. Or, maybe at the Mount of Transfiguration, when God said,  “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:35.

But we don’t need to go back to those events, because John tells us in verses 11 and 12 what God’s testimony to us is: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

John is rehashing words that he had already quoted Jesus as saying like:

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 17:3

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

John 14:6

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

As Jesus has explained it, eternal life isn’t something on the other side of death’s door. It is the life lived by anyone in whom Jesus lives. These are those of us who believe “in the Son of God”. In the original language, ‘believe’ is the verb form of ‘faith’. It means more than just to accept that God’s testimony as factual. It means that we have placed our trust in the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and in him we have an ageless quality of life that can be attained in no other way than through Jesus.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in love have had taste of, have seen a glimpse of what this testimony tells. The quality of our lives is just better when our lives are shared with that loved one. John is saying if we believe God’s testimony, we too can have a life changing relationship with God through God’s son, Jesus.


This entry was posted in Faith and Theology. Bookmark the permalink.