He had just annoyed the well respected Pharisees by healing a sick man who was lying near the pool called Bethesda located next to the Sheep Gate. Maybe the healing itself could have gotten a pass, but it was the Sabbath, and, adding even more offence to healing on that day, Jesus told the man to pick up his bed and walk! ON THE SABBATH!
Then, when they challenged Jesus about it, he told them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what he meant by that, although he talked later about only doing what he saw his father doing, somehow connecting his works to God’s. But maybe it was not just the healing and the command to “Pick up your bed and walk!” that was the last straw, but the fact that he called God his father, since by doing so he was making himself equal with God.
They tried to kill him for it.
So Jesus goes into a long discourse about the Father and the Son and their relationship, and then gives two witnesses that he is really the Son:
- John said it.
- The works said it.
But then Jesus says he needs no evidence of who he is other than that of one, his father.
“There is another who bears witness of me and I know that the witness which He witnesses of me is true…You search the scriptures because you believe that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you might have life.”
He had obviously seen himself in the scriptures as a young boy, saying to his parents, “Don’t you know I should be about my father’s business?” And then there was the declaration of John at the river, followed quickly by the voice from Heaven just before he enters into the wilderness where Satan brings the famous, “If you are the Son of God…” temptation.
But Jesus already knew that what God said about him in scripture was true. He needed no other witness, even though others came.
Do we believe what God has said about him…and about us…in scripture? Or do we look for another witness?
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way, your son lives.’ So the man believed the word Jesus spoke to him and he went his way” (John 4:50).