Daily Bible Verses | The Gospel Of Saint JohnDaily Bible Verses For Advent & Christmas

Daily Bible Verses Advent & Christmas | The Witness Of John The Baptist | A Burning And Shining Light

Audio Bible | Advent | John The Baptist And Jesus

John 5: 33-36 – Advent Week 3, Friday (Audio Bible, Spoken Word)

33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
36 ¶ But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

Jesus pays tribute to John as a great prophet, bringing the truth of God to the people, as a burning and a shining light. There is perhaps a veiled rebuke as Jesus reminds the people that they flocked to him for a period, as if theirs was a fickle and fleeting regard. Nonetheless, Jesus speaks of John now to help the people, because John witnessed Christ and that witness could help people to believe and so be saved.

According to Jewish custom, it was not enough for a man to testify in his own cause – he needed the witness of others. While Jesus has no need in himself for another man’s testimony, still John was there to proclaim Jesus Christ for the sake of Jews.

John was a great prophet, and yet there is a greater witness: the miracles Jesus performs are signs that the Kingdom of God is present, that God’s active presence within the world has been renewed and changed in character through the works of Jesus. God is with us. This is truth.

See also: John 5: 31-47 – Lent Week Four, Thursday [link pending]

The Jews – often in the Gospel of John a generic term for those who reject Christ, or those who are so muddled, contentious and sectarian among themselves that they threaten the continuity of themselves in the Law – do not reject Jesus for any good reason. They do so rather because they cling to what precious little they have, within their prison walls, and so they deliberately blind themselves to the universal, and universalizing, truth which Christ brings. Jesus knows this. Nevertheless, through justice, he must give to the Jews this additional opportunity to listen to his teaching and recognize the truth of who he is. We may imagine that Jesus is truly desperate for the people of God to put aside their differences and truly be with God.

Jesus, God the Son, humbles himself now by saying that he will not now ask to be recognized by his own testament. Nonetheless, he wishes to save the people and, in order to achieve this, have them recognize the truth of his being and of his preaching.

Jesus cites, therefore, the witness of John the Baptist, of his own miracles, of his Father, and of the prophets of the Old Testament of the Bible.

Jesus celebrates the life of John the Baptist. His doing so points additionally to some of the failings of the Jews, who may not have been true and constant in their regard for the teachings offered to them. ‘He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.’ There is the suggestion of a passing regard, whereas in truth John the Baptist prepared the way for the people to welcome Christ.

We recall the fate of John the Baptist, as of other prophets.

Jesus tells the Jews to search the scriptures. He implies both that through doing so they will discover the truth about who he is and also that they have been blind to the scriptures for too long, reading and re-reading and re-reading them, while failing all the while to grasp the truth of God. Their persistence in their false way of reading will not bring any benefit; rather the converse, as they will grievously discover in AD 70.

Jesus is here, on earth, in the name of the Father. He is God the Son. He wants people to know this because this is important. Jesus must feel great frustration, and this also because the Jewish people not only do not recognize him for who he is but also do not seem to have read the scriptures properly. ‘For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me.’

John’s Gospel tells us that it is through the whole course of the Bible, not the New Testament alone, that Christ’s message is proclaimed. In this passage of the Bible, we are taught a part of what has been missing from our reading of the Bible. The people have not responded to the Old Testament Bible teaching of the Law with love; they have not welcomed God into their hearts and souls; belief has gone missing amid a mass of confused detail.

Now God has seen this and cares so much that he has sent his Son to remedy the situation. Some will listen, some will not. The sacrifice of Christ will, though, be the central redeeming fact of all time.

‘He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.’

‘Ignorance has been taken away, difficulties have been made easier, and the sacred blood of Christ has extinguished the flaming sword which blocked the way to life. The darkness of the former night has given way to the true light.’ Pope St Leo the Great

‘6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’ (1 John 5: 6-12)