Can You Prove Who You Are
CAN YOU PROVE WHO YOU ARE?
John 5: 18-24
Here in this passage that we just read the sharks are circling.
- Jesus has been healing people on the Sabbath day…
- He has been publicly telling the people that He is the Son of God…
- And his enemies…and critics are so angry and resentful that they want to kill him.
- In fact, for all intents and purposes, they have already tried and convicted Him in their court of human reasoning as being a blasphemer and a heretic…and they don’t really want to hear anything more from Him…all they want is for him to die.
But Jesus still tries to get them to understand…and to change their minds.
- That is the way Jesus is.
- Jesus desires that no man should perish…He wants all men to come to a knowledge of the truth…and so in spite of their having already decided that He should die…Jesus tries to get them to change their mind…just as He tries to get some today to change their minds.
And so beginning in verse 19, Jesus answers His critics…He makes His case…and He gives them more evidence…and more reasons why they should believe that He is who He claims to be.
- And nowhere in all of scripture will you find it more clearly stated by Jesus that He is who He claims to be, than He states it here.
So, let’s begin by looking again at Jesus’ claims.
In verses 19-23, seven times, Jesus says that He is the “Son of God.”
- In verse 21 Jesus says that “He is the giver of life and that He gives life to whomever He wishes.”
- In verse 24 He says that “He gives eternal life to those who hear His words and believes in the Father who sent Him.”
- And in verse 27 Jesus says that “the Father has given Him the authority to execute judgment over all mankind.”
And so what you have here is Jesus, trying to get these men who have already passed judgment on Him, who have already decided that He should die…to change their minds by making these powerful claims: “I am the Son of God; I am the giver of life, “I am the eternal judge.”
Well, you can only imagine what must have been going on in the minds of His critics and enemies?
- They are only more incensed and agitated by what He is saying.
- “Who does He think He is to make claims like this?”
Well, Jesus continues to try. Look at verse 31: “If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true.”
- It is as though Jesus is saying, “I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that anyone can make these kinds of claims. Just making the claims doesn’t make it true. Well, you are right. Just making these claims doesn’t prove anything.”
So look at what He does starting in verse 32. Jesus says: “There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the testimony which He bears of Me is true.”
- Jesus’ claims of being the Son of God, of being the giver of life, of being the eternal judge weren’t just something He claimed…
- There were other’s who verified His claims and now He is going to call forth His witnesses.
Look at His first witness found in verses 33-35…it is John the Baptist. Jesus says: “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.”
- And notice verse 35: “He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”
Jesus is saying to His Jewish critics, “You went out and heard John preach. And you heard John say that someone was coming after him…one who was greater than he was…someone whose sandals he wasn’t even worthy to tie.”
- “And you heard John say that he was not the Christ…and you guys rejoiced at the news of the coming Christ or the Messiah.”
- “You recognized John as a prophet of God.”
- “And he told you I was the One who was to come.”
- And so what Jesus is telling them is if you don’t want to believe Him…will they believe John?
But then Jesus has another witness to testify to or confirm His claims of being the Christ. Look at verse 36.
But the witness which I have is greater than that of John;
- In other words, “If you are having a problem believing what John has said, I have another witness for you.” Look at what it is:
- …for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
“You Jewish leaders, if you don’t want to believe what I have said, and if you don’t want to believe what John said, just think about My works.”
- “Remember back in Cana of Galilee…at the wedding feast…how I turned the water into wine.”
- “And what about here in Jerusalem…the man over by the pool of Bethesda who had been lame for 38 years…you saw how I made that man well.”
- “And in Capernaum, a man came and he was a royal official, and he told us about his son, and I healed his son.”
- “Have you ever seen anyone do things like that before?”
- “If you won’t believe what I say, and if you won’t believe what John said about Me, will you believe the works that I have done?”
But Jesus keeps going…trying to get these people to believe. Look at His next witness found in verse 37:
“And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me.”
- Some of these Jewish leaders had heard it or at least had heard about it.
- The day that Jesus was baptized, when He came up out of the water, the Spirit descends on Him…and a voice from heaven says, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
And Jesus keeps going in verse 39 and on through verses 45 and 46…and He says, “If you will not believe what I say, and you will not believe what John said about Me, and if you will not believe the works that I do, and if you will not believe the Father when He called Me His Son, will you believe the scriptures and the things that Moses wrote?”
- Look at verse 39: “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.”
- And look at verse 46: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me.”
Jesus tells these Jewish leaders, “You know the scriptures…you read them…you know what Moses said…and what Isaiah said about Me…and Jeremiah…and you know how they talked about My birth, and my suffering, and my ministry, and my death…and my resurrection…”
- “If you won’t believe what I tell you, and you won’t believe what John has told you, and if you won’t believe the works that I have done, and if you won’t believe what the Father has said, will you believe the scriptures and what Moses wrote?”
Jesus made these claims: “I am the Son of God, I am the giver of life, I am the judge.”
- And He calls up all these witnesses…and He asks these Jews the same question he asks all of us:
“If you won’t believe Jesus Himself when He claims to be the Son of God, the giver of life, and the eternal judge…will you believe what these witnesses say?”
- Will you believe what John said, what Jesus’ works say, what God Himself says, or what the scriptures and Moses say?”
- “Are you that hard hearted…or do you think all these witnesses are all liars too?”
In our court system today it is a dangerous thing to refuse to believe the evidence and witnesses.
- It is even more dangerous to reject them in this situation.
- Look at what Jesus says in verse 24:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
- Don’t reject the evidence…instead, come to the right verdict…and pass out of death into life.
Now, there is another question that I want to ask in reference to what has taken place here.
- What I want to know is, CAN YOU/I PROVE WHO WE CLAIM TO BE?
- Jesus made His claims…and He supported His claims with obvious evidence and witnesses…
- And today, we claim to be followers of Christ…we claim to be Christians…we claim to be “the church.”
- Can you…can I…prove that we are who we claim to be?
I read in Eph. 3: 10 that those of us who claim to be “the church” or who claim to be Christians that we are to take God’s wisdom that has been summed up in Christ to a world that needs Christ.
- And I read in Matthew 28: 18-20 that those of us who claim to be disciples…that we are to go “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”…
- And what I am wondering is, based on that criteria, could you prove by your actions that you are who you claim you are?
- Would anyone stand up and say, “He taught me about Jesus?”
And I read in 1 John 1: 7 that those of us who claim to be Christians are to “walk in the light as He Himself is in the light”…
- And I am told in 1 John 3 that “the one who practices sin is of the devil”…and I am wondering, what would the evidence say about you? And what would it say about me?
- Would my actions…would my walk prove that I really am a Christian like I claim to be?
- Would anyone stand up and say, “This guy is walking in the light” or would I have more witness step up and say, “He is practicing sin?”
And what about Eph. 5: 3-5…where Paul is talking to Christians and he says:
But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
And I read that…and that is the way that Christians are supposed to be…
- And that is what you/I claim to be…and I wonder, “Can we prove our claim?”
- Can you and I bring witnesses…bring people who will say, “I’ve heard him talk many times…and he has never used coarse joking…or foul language…and he has never used the Lord’s name in vain.”
- Can you…can I build a case that proves who we claim to be?
Then I read in John 13: 35 that “all men will know we are disciples of Jesus by the way we love one another.”
- And I read that we are to encourage one another…and that we are to be kind to one another.
- And that we are to help the weak…and that we are not to gossip about each other…and be mean to one another.
- In fact, as disciples of Christ and members of His church, we are to reach out to those who are in need…and love them and forgive them…and we are to admonish the unruly…and be patient with all men.
- And here we are, we claim to be God’s people…and I wonder, if this is the criteria…is there enough evidence to convict us of being what we say we are?
- Are there people who can come and testify…and build a case on our behalf?
And I read in Acts 20:7 that the followers of Christ were “gathered on the first day of the week” and I wonder, does your attendance in the assemblies…and my attendance in the assemblies prove that we are who we claim to be?
- Will coming “once in a while” or just a few times each year be evidence enough to convict you of being a follower of Christ?
One more, Philippians 4: 4…the apostle Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.”
- Christians are to be a people who have a special joy…even in the worst of circumstances.
- And the reason they have this special joy is because they realize that their heavenly Father is bigger than their problems…and He will use all things for the good of those who love Him.
- And what I wonder is, can we prove by our disposition that we are the people we claim to be?
- Are there people who can come and say, “I know that person and he always seems to be filled with joy”?
Are we the people that we claim to be…and more than that…can we prove it?
- Does the evidence confirm…do other people confirm that we are who we say we are?
In closing, there are two things I want you to take home with you.
- One, JESUS IS WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE.
- He is the Son of God…He is the giver of eternal life…and He is the eternal judge.
- He said it…all the evidence confirms it…and so to do all the witnesses.
- Don’t deny His claims, the evidence, or the witnesses…because if you do then you will be denying the salvation that is available only through Him…and their will be no eternal rest for your soul.
And then the second thing I want you to take home with you is this:
- Some day, every one of us will stand before the eternal judge and His judgment will be a righteous one…in other words…we will not fool Him…there will be no mistakes.
- And what I want you to understand is this…if you claim to be a child of God…but there is no evidence in this life that you are….if there are no witnesses in this life that can verify your claim…
- If the scriptures do not confirm your claims…
- Then it is very doubtful that the righteous judge…will judge you to be a child of God either.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023