“This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.” – 1 John 5:6
When God led the nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt and towards the Promised Land, he provided the Ten Commandments, as well as many other laws concerning how they were to live as his chosen people. Every law was designed for their blessing and protection. Knowing that conflicts would arise among the people, the Lord designed a system in which they could bring charges against one another. The book of Deuteronomy is filled with instructions about how the proceedings should be handled. Under these rules, a person could only be convicted of a crime if at least two or three witnesses offer sound evidence of guilt (Deuteronomy 19:15-21). The law was designed to expose any false charges or testimony.
When the Apostle John wrote this letter to the seven churches in Macedonia, he sought to resolve conflict that had erupted throughout the church. False teachings about Jesus were spreading, leading to divisions within the body of Christ. John wrote to clarify the truth: Jesus was the divine Son of God, and he was also fully human. John speaks of three witnesses that testify to Jesus’ true nature: water, blood, and the Spirit.
The water testified to the humanity of Jesus. When he asked to be baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus identified with you and with me. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Matthew 3:1-6). Though Jesus had committed no sin and would commit no sin, he took on human flesh and experienced life as a man. Jesus knew temptation, loss, betrayal, physical suffering, emotional suffering, grief, etc. When we suffer, Jesus understands because he has been there too.
The blood testified to the divinity of Jesus. In the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed to atone for people’s sins. These offerings were to be without blemish, spotless, and pure. Only the divine Son of God could offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin. He alone lived a perfect life and could therefore die in our place. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, a holy God’s wrath towards our sin was fully satisfied.
Whereas the blood and the water were external witnesses to the humanity and divinity of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was the internal witness. Those who put their faith in Jesus receive the promised Holy Spirit; it dwells within them, testifying to the truth of who Jesus was and what he came to do. As Jesus told his disciples, the Spirit will lead the children of God into all truth.
Together, the water, blood, and Spirit attest to both the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. God’s children can rest in the full assurance that their faith is grounded in the truth.
Reflect & Respond:
Spend some quiet time with him asking the Holy Spirit to speak his truth to you today. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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