The Divine Demonstration (Part One)
By Bob Myhan
By “divine” is meant, “of or pertaining to a god, esp. the Supreme Being.” By “demonstration” is meant “the act or circumstance of proving or being proved conclusively as by reasoning or a show of evidence” (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary). By “divine demonstration” is meant “the act or circumstance of proving or being proved conclusively as by reasoning or a show of evidence” that Jesus is the Son of God.
The Gospel of John is a historical account of “the divine demonstration.” John wrote,
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (20:30-31)
Now by what “reasoning or show of evidence” was it “proved conclusively” that Jesus was the Son of God? John collectively refers to the evidence as “signs” that “Jesus did ... in the presence of His disciples.” These included both miraculous and the non-miraculous signs. The latter consisted in several instances of interaction He had with His disciples and others.
John begins with the affirmation,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ... For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (1:1-2, 14, 17)
John records seven miraculous signs of Jesus: turning water into wine (2:1-11), healing the nobleman’s son (4:43-54), healing the infirm man on the Sabbath (5:1-9), miraculously feeding a multitude (6:1-15), walking on the water (6:16-21), healing a man born blind (9:1-41) and raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1-57).
He also records Jesus’ cleansing of the temple (2:13-22), His visit from Nicodemus (3:1-21), His conversation with a woman of Samaria (4:7-29), His sermon on Himself as the Bread of Life (6:22-59), His appearance in the temple during the Feast of the Tabernacles (7:1-53), His interaction with those who brought the woman caught in adultery (8:1-11), the parables of the sheepfold and the good shepherd (10:1-42), His intimate interaction with the twelve (chapters 12-16), His prayer of consecration (17:1-26) and, of course, His death, burial and resurrection (chapters 18-20).
Even the non-miraculous events contributed to the divine demonstration for He was always either the perfect representation of His Father or the epitome of manhood. After healing the infirm man, Jesus affirmed,
"If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you--Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (5:31-47)
What Jesus here refers to is what we have called “the divine demonstration.” Even at this early stage of the Lord’s ministry, God had demonstrated Jesus’ Sonship in three ways: (1) by audible voice, (2) by prophecy and (3) by that which Jesus had done. Let us consider each in turn.
When Jesus had been baptized by John,
“... the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22)
Concerning this event, Matthew Fowler has observed,
“The silence of God is broken! No word from God had been heard since He spoke from heaven to Israel at Sinai. How significant that He should choose this moment to communicate directly with earth! And He shall speak again at Jesus’ moment of glory ... and shortly before His hour of suffering. ... Here is the word of Him who cannot lie, which proclaims who Jesus really is: ‘my Son!’ On this point, what other witness ... would be so well-qualified to testify as the Father Himself? What other fact so worthy the honor of His personal sanction as this?” (The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, page 119).
Perhaps some to whom Jesus is speaking were not present at His baptism by John and did not hear the voice of God. But they still had the testimony of His Father in the writings of Moses and the prophets and they could see the works of Jesus.
[To be continued]
By Nick Nelson
I enjoy riding through the desert on my dirt bike experiencing the beauty of God’s creation. The fresh scent of the desert sage after a rain and the green sage and grasses clothed in yellow, white, blue and purple flowers that cover the desert in the spring bring excitement to the experience of life. These things delight my eyes and fill my mind with a wonder and awe of our creator. In all these things I see my God’s love for mankind and often express my thanks to God for my existence and the privilege of experiencing His creation. I imagine we all have some special experiences that make us glad to be alive.
Yet life will not always be so pleasant. There will come a time when such experiences will be difficult if not impossible to actively appreciate. I will only have the memories of the good days when I was young and my body able to enjoy life. Solomon pondered this truth in very poetic language describing the decay of our physical bodies and the end of life. He calls these later years of life the evil days and encourages us to build an allegiance to God while we are in our youth and more able to see God in the experiences of life. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
There is one profound truth about life on earth and its joys that none of us can escape. IT ENDS! And because this precious life ends we dream of and pursue ways to extend it. The possibility of life without end has become a hidden treasure beyond value. It is amazing that so few will ever find the treasure of life. God has freely and openly offered eternal life to anyone who will follow Jesus. To enjoy life forever is dependant on the decisions we make now. In fact the whole purpose of this life is to serve God so that we may live with him forever. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 7:13-14) What will we do if tomorrow we stand before the judgment seat of Christ unprepared? Will the things that we put before serving God have any importance? Will it really matter that we were popular in school, went to college, had a great career, drove a nice car, owned a nice house, were a gang member, or had fun at parties? Those things will mean nothing to us when we stand before Christ. Nor will such things sway the Lords judgment in our favor.
What will matter is what we did when we were offered a chance to believe the Gospel and obey Jesus. To be saved requires more than just calling oneself a Christian. The Demons believe yet that will not save them. Many of the Jewish leaders believed yet would not confess their belief in Jesus. God demands a faith that causes one’s whole life to be openly obedient to the rule of Jesus. (James 2:19; John 12:42-43; 2Corinthians 5:9-10; Hebrews 5:8-9)
Obedience of faith is the purpose for preaching the Gospel. The first acts of obedience demanded of the believer are to repent and be baptized. It is at this point that faith is made perfect and alive and that God forgives the believer because of their obedient faith. Then begins a journey that will take a lifetime of submitting to Jesus. Only after one has been faithful unto death will they receive eternal life. (Romans 16:25-26; James 2:20-26; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; 2Timothy 4:7-8)
If you are living for today and your thoughts and actions do not go beyond the pleasures of this life. I would like to bring to your attention one inescapable truth. IT ENDS, and only by choosing to follow Jesus can your life continue in eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20; Luke 12:16-21) &