Testimony of Works
36But the testimony I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.
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.
Who was Jesus of Nazareth? This question, according to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is the central question of Christianity. The answer to this question becomes the filter for all other questions that surround Jesus. “What do we make of his miracles?” is one such question. In this sermon on John 5:36 titled “What of Miracles?” Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues his series on John 5:36. According to the Old Testament, Jesus’s testimony alone was not enough to verify His claims to His identity. Knowing this, Jesus offers multiple testimonies to His identity as being fully God, the Son of God. One such testimony is that of His works. What does Jesus refer to by claiming that His works testify of Him? Certainly the entire corpus of His work is in view, but in the context of John 5 and the healing He performed at the Pool of Bethesda, the works that He refers to were His miracles. When John the Baptist questioned Jesus’s identity, Jesus answered Him by pointing to His miracles. The miracles testify of His divine nature, but His miracles have been and continue to be a stumbling block to belief in Him.
- Jesus claims that the works he does bear witness of him and that he is sent by the Father.
- The question of who Jesus is, is the central question of Christianity. Christianity is not just a philosophy or teaching, it depends on Jesus's identity.
- Before considering Jesus's teachings, we must know who he is. He is not just one teacher among many.
- Jesus is referring to his miracles when he talks about "the works". His words, sinless life, death, and resurrection are also "works" that testify to his identity. But primarily he means his miracles.
- The miracles proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. Jesus himself, the apostles, and the author of Hebrews point to the miracles as evidence for Jesus's identity.
- A miracle is an act of God that transcends the ordinary course of nature. It shows God acting directly rather than through secondary causes and natural laws. Miracles imply an extraordinary act of God's power.
- We must be careful not to call things miracles that can be explained naturally. But we also cannot deny the possibility of miracles. Those who deny miracles are behind the times scientifically.
- The Jews refused to believe in Jesus despite seeing his miracles. Much of the church has also denied or explained away miracles to appease science. But the gospels present Jesus as a miracle worker, so we cannot pick and choose what to believe.
- The right response is to see, as Nicodemus did, that Jesus's miracles show he is from God. The miracles fulfill prophecy and testify to Jesus's power and identity in themselves.
- The miracles show that Jesus is the Son of God who came to save us from our sins by dying in our place. This is the work the Father gave him to accomplish.
- We should not stumble at the miracles but see that they show Jesus is the Son of God and Savior. God is not limited by the laws of nature he established. The miracles call us to believe in Jesus as the Christ and Son of God who died for our sins.
The Book of John
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.