Home > Bible Study, John, S. Lewis Johnson > The Seven-Fold Witness to Christ

The Seven-Fold Witness to Christ

September 24, 2012

Continuing through S. Lewis Johnson’s study through the gospel of John, we find seven witnesses to the truth of Christ and who He is.  The first five of these are described in John 5, followed by two in John 15.  From SLJ’s message in John 5:
1.  The witness of the Son himself.   (John 5:31-32)
2.  John the Baptist  (John 5:33-35):  a burning and shining lamp, which the people enjoyed for a time.
3.  The mighty works, the miracles He did  (John 5:36)
4.  The witness of the Father.  (John 5:37-38)
5.  The witness of the Scriptures  (John 5:39-40):   “You 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.”
6.  Witness of the Holy Spirit  (John 15:26)
7.  Witness of Believers  (John 15:27)

Concerning the 5th witness:  how do we search the scriptures? And how do they testify of Christ?  Here S. Lewis Johnson observed:

… there are two ways to search the Scriptures.  We may the search the Scriptures as some people do, not only the Jews but some of the Protestant interpreters today.  How did the Jews search the Scriptures?  Did they search the Scriptures to find Jesus Christ in them?  No.  They didn’t search to find Jesus Christ in them.  They searched the Scriptures somewhat like this.  They numbered all of the verses in the Old Testament.  They counted the words and the Old Testament.  They counted the letters of every book in the Old Testament.  They calculated the middle word in the book.  They calculated the middle letter of each book.  They enumerated verses which contained all of the letters of the alphabet or a certain number of them, and all other kinds of things like that.  An individual might spend his whole time studying the Scriptures in that way and never really come to the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are many Protestant interpreters in our theological institutions today who search the Bible in that way.  They speak about various types of hypothesis concerning the makeup of the Scriptures, some of which might be of some help to us in interpretation but devoting all of their time to the scholarly theories concerning the origin of the Scriptures and the character of the Scriptures.  The whole point of the Scriptures, the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is missed.

There is, of course, no life in the Scriptures themselves.  But if we follow where they lead us they will bring us to Him so that we find life not in the Scriptures but in Him through them.  That is the purpose of the word of God, to bring us to the one of whom they speak, and those Scriptures are the inspired word of God, designed to lead us unerringly to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But it’s possible to search the Scriptures in another way.  “You search the Scriptures because in the you think you have eternal life but they are they which testify of me.”  If in the reading of the Bible and in the study of the Bible you should imagine things about Jesus Christ which are not really true of Him, then ultimately what you have is what Calvin called a shadowy ghost in the place of Jesus Christ.  It is possible for us to construct ideas about our Lord that our not found in the Bible at all.  Those have no reality whatsoever.  Calvin is absolutely right.  You have then only a shadowy ghost.

Why they rejected Jesus:  specifically the Jews in John 5, but also with application to all unbelievers:

  • the moral cause (John 5:41-44):  They sought the praise of men rather than the praise of God.  That always leads to deception when we seek the praise of men.  There are Christians like that.  There are people who teach in theological seminaries who are more interested in the praise of other teachers in theological seminaries and other individuals than they are in the praise of God it would seem.

Think of the wretchedness and the absolute demonism of preferring false Christs to Christ.  But that’s what he says, “I am come in my Father’s name and ye received me not.  If another shall come in his own name him ye will receive.”  Ultimately that’s a reference to the coming of the antichrist who will come as the Christ and we who have not received Him shall receive him (the antiChrist).

We as believers can have confidence in the rational ground of our faith, as expressed in these seven testimonies to the living Christ.

  1. September 25, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Wow this was good. It’s amazing to see how Scripture (and especially the Gospel of John) reveals the various witnesses that points us to Jesus. Beautiful lists. My favorite of course is the Scripture’s attestation of Jesus as the Messiah. There’s something about Messianic prophecies in apologetics that makes me want to worship my Great and Prophesied Jesus!

  2. alf
    September 25, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Yes, this is very good. I’m currently reading through John’s Gospel. I’m doing it slowly and deliberately while reading Ron Rhode’s “Christ Before The manger”. Thanks Lynda.

  3. September 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Thanks, Jim and Alf. Yes, the gospel of John is so rich in depth, the gospel that especially emphasizes Christ’s deity, Jesus as the Lord God. This is a good series; I’m now in the first part of chapter 6, and it’s sure to get even better.

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