John speaks of two things in this final chapter that are crucial for us to understand. In our passage last month, he spoke of the victory that has overcome the world. What is it? Our faith! But not just any faith, but faith in a specific person with a specific qualification—Jesus as the Son of God.
Today’s verses add a second point: The Testimony. Listen to what John writes:
Jesus Christ—he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. If we accept human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that he has given about his Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 John 5:6-12 CSB
The first of these verses goes even deeper into our understanding of Jesus as the Son of God. He came by water and blood. God first revealed to the world that this Jesus was his beloved Son at the point of his baptism.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”Matthew 3:17
Not only did Jesus come to preach the Kingdom of God, but he came to die. Thus, his blood is the second aspect of his life that gives witness to his relationship to the Father. Just as his baptism set him apart for his earthly ministry, so to did the shedding of his blood set him apart for his heavenly ministry in serving as our propitiation and advocate. But John tells us there are not simply two witnesses to the veracity of Jesus as the Son of God, but a third one as well—the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who works in the heart of man to reveal the truth that Jesus is who he claimed to be.
John tells us that when we believe in this testimony, it takes root in our hearts and we cannot help but make it a part of how we share Christ with others. It is verifiable and experiential through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Just to be sure that his readers understand, John again clarifies.
This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 John 5:11-12
The testimony we proclaim to the world is not like a human philosophy, which can perhaps change one’s mind in the here-and-now but do nothing for eternity. The testimony we have is that of a person who lived, died, and stands at the right hand of God on our behalf until the day of his return. We believe this testimony and we have life for all eternity.
No wonder we’ve overcome the world! It has no hold on us. No sting. No fear. For we have Jesus!
Grace and Peace