‘I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
‘If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved.He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.
‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’
In today’s reading, Jesus is speaking with religious leaders after healing on the Sabbath. Much like those leaders, we are in conversation with Jesus. Yet we can choose a better path, a better way to wait for Jesus, than they did. The leaders’ conversation with him was contentious. The waiting that happens in contentious conversations is a charged, frenetic waiting. One side simply waits to launch the next salvo of their attack. They do not listen. Our waiting for Jesus is quite different. We wait with openness and receptivity. We wait for Jesus to finish speaking to us, because his words are balm for our souls and hope for our future. We listen. In listening to today’s passage, we hear Jesus name four witnesses who vouch for him: his Father (vv. 32, 37), John the Baptist (v. 33), his works (v. 36), and Israel’s Scriptures (v.39). As we anticipate both Jesus’ birth and return, trust that all around us, in ways seen and unseen, witnesses are vouching for the truth of his presence and activity in this broken world. Perhaps you can be a witness as well, vouching for the truth of his presence and activity in your life.