33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
JOHN 3: 33-36
33 ὁ λαβὼν αὐτοῦ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἐσφράγισεν ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἀληθής ἐστιν. 34 ὃν γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ θεοῦ λαλεῖ, οὐ γὰρ ἐκ μέτρου δίδωσιν τὸ πνεῦμα. 35 ὁ πατὴρ ἀγαπᾷ τὸν υἱόν, καὶ πάντα δέδωκεν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ. 36 ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον· ὁ δὲ ἀπειθῶν τῷ υἱῷ οὐκ ὄψεται ζωήν, ἀλλʼ ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ μένει ἐπʼ αὐτόν.
JOHN 3: 33-36 SBLGNT
A CERTIFIED REVEALER
Not only is Jesus an able and willing Revealer, he is also certified to reveal God’s truth. When you go to a doctor’s office, you look on the wall to see a proper medical-school diploma. When a police officer shows up at your door, you ask to see proper identification. How much more important is a proper certification for One who claims to bring saving truth from heaven and from God!
Jesus bears two credentials. The first is his full possession of God’s Spirit: “He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure” (John 3:34). This contrasts Jesus with even the prophets, to whom God gave the Spirit only as their ministry required. But Jesus had every endowment of the Spirit. Isaiah foretold: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isa. 11:2). Jesus began his ministry in Galilee by reading from the scroll of Isaiah 61, starting with the words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4:18). God did not provide his Son with the Spirit in part, but “without measure.”
This full endowment of God’s Spirit is reflected in the perfect accord between Jesus and the Father. He always knew and did the will of the Father perfectly. He was never at a loss for God’s Word.
As in Luke 4:18–19 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
On one occasion, Jesus was teaching in a crowded house when four men dug a hole in the roof to let down a friend who was paralyzed. Jesus told the man that his sins were forgiven because of his faith. The Pharisees complained: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (5:21). Jesus replied, “ ‘Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the man who was paralyzed—‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home’ ” (5:23–24).When the man picked up his mat and walked out, Jesus’ authority was proved.
Ultimately, God’s Spirit certified Jesus by raising him from the dead. Paul says that he “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:4). One who has been publicly executed, is buried in a sealed grave for three days, and then comes to life before numerous witnesses has the right to claim authority to speak for God. In all these ways—Jesus’ perfect knowledge of God’s will, his ability to perform true miracles, and his resurrection from the grave—the Holy Spirit marks Jesus as a true Revealer from God.
Jesus’ second credential is his commission from the Father: “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). John was one of those who heard the voice of God speaking from heaven, after he had baptized Jesus: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). As such, God gave “all things into his hand.” This means that Jesus has the authority to declare God’s Word and to send the Spirit into the hearts of his own so that they receive it in faith. God had told John the Baptist, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John therefore testified, “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (John 1:33–34).
This answers yet another objection to faith in Christ. You might say, “I should believe something this important only on proper authority and with certifiable proof.” But Jesus has that authority, and it is certified by his full possession of God’s Spirit and by his commission from the Father. If you are looking for a “spiritual” teacher, there is none like Jesus: he possesses the fullness of God’s Spirit as the provision of his loving Father. From the lips of any other spiritual leader, such a claim would be preposterous. But Jesus makes that very claim in the New Testament, and his record completely backs it up.
How wonderful it is for believers not only to read of the Father’s blessing on his beloved Son, Jesus, but also to realize that through faith in Christ these same blessings now belong to us. Being joined to Christ in faith, we, too, receive the Spirit of God and are received into the Father’s love. Moreover, we enter into Christ’s mission of bearing witness to the gospel before the world. To be sure, Christians never speak on our own authority. But as Christ’s present disciples in the world, we may speak God’s Word with the authority of those commissioned to declare the gospel and in the joyful knowledge that God’s blessing will attend our ministry just as he previously blessed that of Jesus.1