“If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true.” John 5:31-32
Jesus had just testified that He was the Son of God. That He was equal with God in all things. His testimony was not enough. He needed at least three witnesses to show that Jesus’ claims were true. Jesus speaks as if he were on trial. The calling of witnesses is crucial because Jewish legal procedure was not based on the interrogation of the accused but on the examination of witnesses. According to the law there had to be at least two or three witnesses, “You must not convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of only one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Deuteronomy 19:15), and it was later specified that. “But never put a person to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two or three witnesses.” (Deuteronomy 17:6) The Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus, they had to do it legally. The informal nature of Jewish legal procedure in such settings and the focus on witnesses meant it was not always clear who was judging whom. So it was not unusual for the accused to turn the tables, as Jesus does here with increasing clarity. In these scriptures Jesus does what He does often. He turned the tables on His accusers. Just as we have seen in Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, He knew how to say the right words in order to clear up the matter at hand. Our Lord’s claim is that there are valid witnesses that support His claim to be the Son of God. Witnesses are important. Could you be a witness for Jesus that He is the Son of God?