JESUS' WORKS BEAR WITNESS
John 5:36-40 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. And the Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. And ye have not His word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they, which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.
For Jesus to tell others that He was the Son of God would have left much doubt in the minds of those to whom He witnessed Himself. However, in the five verses preceding the lesson text we find our Lord telling of the instance when John the Baptist witnessed Himself as the Savior and the Son of God. Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus said that he was a burning and a shining light. As a shining light, John the Baptist had the God-given task of preparing the way of the Lord (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4). The meaning was that he was to lead others to Jesus and identify Him as the promised Savior of the world. And for a short period of time the Jews that came to John the Baptist believed his teaching. However, it wasn't lasting, because the verse continues to say that they were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. The "light," John the Baptist, kept pointing the Jews to Jesus, but it seems that the Jews, for various reasons, were not willing to accept Jesus as the Messiah. They refused to follow the path, in which John was leading them, to the Savior.
In the lesson text, which follows the verses noted above, Jesus is quoted by the apostle John as saying that I have greater witness than that of John (the Baptist). John witnessed Jesus as the promised Messiah (John 1:15). And God, Himself, bore witness that Jesus was His Son (Matt. 3:17). However, in both of these instances they were merely spoken, first by a man, John the Baptist, and the other by the voice of one unseen. This was not sufficient to convince the Jews. They were requiring something undeniable - conclusive evidence that could not be questioned. This infallible proof, Jesus supplied with miracles that defied all known human scientific laws; miraculous acts of compassion for others that could not possibly be performed by any other human being on earth. Jesus attested to these when He told the disciples of John about these miracles, saying that the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them (Matt. 11:4-5).
These were 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. The miracles that proved Christ Jesus to be the Son of God, He continually performed throughout His ministry until His life on earth was finished. Since these miracles could not be contested or denied, they must have been bestowed by the power of God, and that power was exercised in Jesus. Therefore, these miraculous works bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God. Indeed, His Father had sent Him to perform them until His mission on earth was finished.
God witnessed Jesus as His Son in a number of ways. He witnessed Christ Jesus in numerous Old Testament prophecies through His prophetic messengers, He witnessed Him as a voice from heaven when Jesus submitted to the baptism of John (Matt. 3:17), and He witnessed Him with each miracle that was performed by Christ in the name of His Heavenly Father. When John wrote that ye have neither heard His voice at any time, simply means that they refused to accept the voice of God at Jesus baptism as coming from the Heavenly Father, and neither did they accept the voice of His prophets. And it is true that no one had physically seen God. John had already confirmed this truth when he wrote that no man hath seen God at any time; it was His only begotten Son that ...hath declared Him to the world (See John 1:18).
To read God's law without believing and obeying assuredly is not the same as abiding in His will. This was the state of the Jews. Of Old Testament scripture, Jesus said are they, which testify of Me. Although the Messiah was foretold by God's prophets in very understandable terms, these Jews failed to believe and accept the Son of God when He came to earth, stood before them, and, with undeniable miracles, proved Himself to be the promised Savior of the world. Yet, ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.