“If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.” (John 5:31-38)
Who are you going to believe? My words or your lying eyes? Affirming something doesn’t make it so. When the Iraqi Information Minister stood before the cameras claiming that no American troops were in Baghdad, the rumble of tanks in the background made it hard for anyone to take him seriously.
In the Old Testament, Moses specified that for a crime to be proven there had to be at least two witnesses. A lone witness to an event could not be trusted. A single witness could be mistaken or malevolently biased. Jesus agreed with his critics, therefore, that if he alone were claiming to be the Messiah, it proved nothing.
But Jesus wasn’t the only one claiming he was the Messiah. John the Baptist claimed Jesus was the Messiah. But even more powerfully, the twin witnesses of his words and his miracles were enough to prove that the Father had sent him.
The fact that the religious establishment was standing as a witness against Jesus did not prove that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. Instead, it demonstrated the spiritual bankruptcy of the religious establishment of Israel. If they had really been the people of God, then they would recognize God when he showed up. Their failure to recognize Jesus as the Messiah—and their failure to actually keep God’s words—demonstrated that they were clueless about God.
You can deny reality only for so long. Eventually it catches up with you.