John 5:31-36
John 5:31 (KJB)
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
Here Jesus is speaking about the fact that if He only spoke about Himself and had nothing to back up His claims, then those who hear Him could claim that His witness would not be true. There are many today who claim themselves to be something when they are not and that means their testimony is not true. Jesus would also not demand His testimony to be believed if He was standing alone in that testimony. It sounds strange that Jesus would say something like this but He is also setting up a precedent that those who also claim to be something should have witnesses, other than themselves, testify to what they are teaching or doing. (Prov 27:2 KJV) Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
John 5:32 (KJB)
There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
The witness that Jesus is speaking about is His Father and not the witness of men. This is attested to in verse 34. There are many times the Father has given approbation to His Son. Two of the most notable were at His baptism and then on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then in John 12:28. (John 12:28 KJV) Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The Father gave witness to His Son and that is irrefutable testimony on behalf of Jesus. Jesus was working in concert with His Father and God was pleased because the ministry of Jesus was progressing according to His Will. If God was not pleased with the ministry of Jesus, then He would not have witnessed because God is not like men who can lie in an instant. If God has proclaimed it, then we can know for sure that the witness is true.
John 5:33 (KJB)
Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem had sent a delegation to John the Baptist to find out who he was. John had witnessed to the truth in two ways. First, he sent back to them that He was not the promised Messiah, secondly, he witnessed to the truth, that is, that Jesus was the promised Messiah. So John had borne witness of the truth in the way that no mistaken identity could take place. John was not there to usurp the place of Christ but to present Him in no uncertain way.
John 5:34 (KJB)
But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
Jesus was not saying that people did not testify to His works but He was saying that even if man did not believe who He was, He still had the testimony of the Father. People were not His primary witness for a testimony but the Father. Jesus stated these things because His purpose in coming was to grant salvation to those He came to save. (Mat 1:21 KJV) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. If Jesus received only testimony from men, then His claims could be suspect but since the Father was His primary witness, He then needed to be listened to, especially concerning eternal things.
John 5:35 (KJB)
He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
Burning - Kindled or set on fire
Season - Hour or period of time
John came as one of the prophets but his was a ministry unlike all the other prophets. The prophets of old wrote about the coming Messiah but here John introduced Him personally. The prophecies of old became fulfilled right before their eyes and this is what caused the people to rejoice in the ministry of John the Baptist. However, the ministry euphoria was short lived because as soon as Jesus started teaching the truth, it started to grate on the ears of the hearers and soon they set out to have Him killed because they did not want to be confronted with their sins. The people wanted Jesus to be the type of Messiah who would free Israel from the yoke of Rome but when He turned out to be a preacher, they became disappointed, except those He came to save. Salvation always gives a person a different perspective.
John 5:36 (KJB)
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.
Finish - Complete
The testimony of John the Baptist was a great testimony but these were only words. What was about to happen in the ministry of Jesus was works which no one had ever seen before. One in particular was the raising of Lazarus which was witnessed by hundreds. The works which Jesus did confirmed who He was and the authority He had. God had sent Jesus into this world to die for the Elect. The work which began in eternity would now be completed on Calvary. In eternity, God had named those He planned on saving in the Lambís Book of Life and Jesus came into this world to be a sacrifice in place of all those who were named and once the work of salvation was completed, all that remained was the calling of the Elect. The work which Jesus finished was Godís salvation plan. When Jesus was raised up on Sunday morning, it was Godís way of telling the world that the mission of Jesus on earth was completed and it was successful. The resurrection was the witness of the acceptance by the Father of the ministry of Jesus.