Born to Testify
As Jesus stands before Pilate, He identifies in His own words His intrinsic purpose for having come to earth:
“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world--to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Jn. 18:37 ESV
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this word of purpose. Jesus did not come to speculate. He did not come to persuade. He did not come to debate. He did not come to prove or to convince or to convict. Nor did He come to “work,” that is, to “build a ministry.” He came only as a repository and reflector of the truth—the truth embodied in who He was, and the truth specifically imparted to Him by the Father to be passed on to “whosoever will” that could receive it.
Jesus was never looking over His shoulder to gauge the responsivity of His hearers nor did he ever "second guess" the appropriateness of what He had to say based on the effects it evoked. He functioned only under a sense of strategic perceptivity of what and when and to whom He was supposed to say whatever He was supposed to say. As He said, “I do not speak of my own accord.”
Beyond this, Jesus recognized that people's receptivity to His truth from the Father depended on the Father’s own separate witness of it to the hearers. He knew nobody could receive anything He had to say as being from the Father unless the Father Himself was also witnessing independently of it in some way to the hearers. This is why He had to say,
Jn 5:31 "If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true….37…[T]he Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.
Jn. 7:17 "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Jn. 8:17 "Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 "I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me."
Again, it’s impossible to state the importance of how Jesus viewed His own purpose in terms of the basis on which He said anything and everything that He ever said to anyone. He was born to testify of truth, truth not of His own persuasion, but that was imparted to Him. He was born to be the “faithful witness” to the Father (Rev. 1:5), beyond which He had no further obligation, and past which point it was entirely up to the Father to provide that dual witness to the heart of any hearer who was ever to be able to believe Christ’s testimony. Everyone who believed Jesus and in whom that faith stuck only believed because the Father had provided the second witness. To anyone else, Jesus was a madman and a fraud.
And that, dear people, is the way it is supposed to be with us. Over and over we are told that we are commissioned to be witnesses to the truth. It is to that purpose and to no other that we have been born. This is the meaning of being an “oracle of God” (I Pt. 4:11).
So what are we supposed to be concentrating on? We are supposed to be listening for the Father, speaking only what we hear from the Father, and perfecting our strategic sensitivity in how, when, where and to whom we deliver what we have heard from the Father (“speaking the truth in love”). And then we are to stand in faith on what we have spoken, regardless of its effects.
We are not to be speculating on the veracity or value of what we have to say. We are not to be forever second guessing the truth of what we have said based on the effects it produces in those who can’t respond to it. We are not to be saying to ourselves, “Man, I wonder if I said something wrong. Look how poorly they reacted. Look how mad they got. I must not have used enough tact. I must have been speaking outside the Spirit!” Rubbish.
Remember, Jesus was ordained to bear witness to the non-believers as well as to the believers—“for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed” (Lk. 2:34). He was commissioned to testify to those who would never believe, who would never receive the Father’s dual witness, who would therefore “hate Him and His Father,” as well as to those who were chosen of the Father to come to know Him and to receive eternal life. That means He was born to make people angry with Him as well as to serve as the conduit for eternal life.
The question is, can you as a believer handle the truth about what you were born to be? Can you handle what it truly means to be a witness?
This is something that requires growing up. It requires maturity. But the problem is that most never grow up. We never acknowledge and own and come up into the stature of the purpose for which we were born. Believers are more concerned about whether what they will say will offend anyone than whether they are in being a faithful hearer and witness to the truth that the Father would impart through them. And Jesus makes it quite clear that anyone who takes on His name who is then ashamed to serve as a selfless conduit of testimony to His truth, of such an one will the Son be ashamed at His coming.
“But in expressing our certitude don’t we have to be humble?” Yes, of course we do. We must steward humility and godly strategic sensitivity in our witness. And all truth has to be spoken as redemptively as possible. That is the “love” part in speaking the truth.
But certitude of testimony is not pride, as we are cajoled to believe under the fear of man. All testimony is inherently born of certitude and only of certitude. Testimony only applies to that of which one is sure. Testimony does not apply to uncertainty. It does not apply to “maybe this is what I was hearing the Lord say, I’m not sure…” (as is so often spoken in “prophecy.” That is not the spirit of prophecy nor the testimony of Jesus. If you’re not sure of what you heard, then you have nothing to say.)
And all sure testimony is inherently selfless. Why? Because Jesus said so. True testimony is always “seeking the glory of another.” There is no pride in that. Testimony is both bold and selfless.
Yet the devil has succeeded in emasculating the testimony of Jesus and the spirit of prophecy in the church through charges of “pride” emanating from those in whom the Father has given no witness…the Pharisees and the unbelievers of the world. “Prophetic believers” would rather play it safe in all their relations than risking the costs of bearing true testimony when called upon before those who don’t receive any witness of the Father.
If you understand this, can you now confidently answer the question, “To what purpose were you born [again]?”
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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