John The Witness

“And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).

The Gospel of John, more than any other book of the Bible, is designed to demonstrate the absolute and unique deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Evidently, because of this, John repeatedly stresses that he is actually writing a “record,” bearing “testimony” of what he knows to be true, giving “witness” of what he has seen and heard. All these words (“witness,” “record,” “testify,” and their derivatives) are translations of the Greek word from which we transliterate our English word “martyr.” John uses this word, in one or another of its forms no less than 47 times in his gospel, as well as 17 times in his three epistles, and 16 times in Revelation—far more than any other Biblical writer.

Seven of these occurrences are in John’s very first chapter. Note the tremendous claims which they make:

(1, 2) “(John the Baptist) came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light” (v.7). (3) “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (v.8). (4) “John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me” (v.15). (5) “And this is the record of John. . . . I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord” (vv.19,23). (6) “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him” (v.32), and (7) is our text.

Jesus told His disciples, as He ascended back to heaven, that “ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8), and John the beloved did, indeed, bear that testimony longer and more clearly than perhaps any man who ever lived. Furthermore, his written gospel is perhaps the most read and loved of all books, so that he continues to give his testimony concerning his beloved Savior to this very day. HMM

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