31 “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
I know this can get a little confusing. John the Apostle is writing about what John the Baptist said. Two separate people. The person saying the things in this passage is John the Baptist, although John the Apostle is the one who recorded it.
What we are reading here is the testimony of John the Baptist. These are the things he has to say about Jesus. These are the things he is telling his disciples, or anyone that will listen, for that matter. When I read this, I noticed a lot of pronouns, so it is easy to get confused. I hope we can untangle this together.
John the Baptist relates here the difference between being sent from Heaven and being of the earth. Ironically, Jesus was both. He was sent from heaven, yet born of this earth. He has a distinct advantage here. John the Baptist is trying to articulate this in verse 32, that Jesus testifies of what He knows from heaven as well as what he sees on earth and no one receives His testimony. It intrigued me that it appears to be contradictory to the very next sentence, when he talks about receiving Christ’s testimony. The difference is this: in verse 32, John the Baptist is saying that only Jesus possesses the unique testimony He has: of heaven and earth. This is true for everyone, for we all have our own story not only of our walk in life, but of how God has played a part in it. Next, in verse 33, John the Baptist is articulating that those of us who receive His testimony, meaning those of us that accept it and believe it, indeed believe that God is true. In other words, if we truly believe that God is God, then we will believe the testimony of Jesus.
God has sent His Son, Jesus the Christ, to be a testament unto us about God. He is the messenger who tells us God’s desire. This very purpose is the same purpose of the Holy Spirit which resides in those of us who believe in God. Being that Jesus Christ is God on earth, then belief in Christ equals belief in God. Our belief in God then translates into eternal life as opposed to the wrath of God. So what if we don’t believe? How would a loving God condemn those who don’t believe? Therein lies the choice to seek out God. If you missed it, we talked about it last week.
I feel we get hung up in thinking that Jesus is separate from God. Even as Christians we forget that Jesus is the face of God, He is the human incarnation of God so that we can relate, so that we can have a relationship with God. He is the friendly face of a God that otherwise we feel unworthy to see. He humbled Himself and brought Himself to a level where we could adequately experience Him. He met us where we were…and still meets us where we are if we will receive Him.
Will you receive Him?