“Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.”
Wow! There is a whole lot packed into this one verse! But first let me give you some context. In this chapter Jesus heals a lame man by the pool at Bethesda on the Sabbath and when the Jews and religious leaders find out they are all up in arms about it. Regardless of the fact that Jesus just changed a man’s life forever they don’t care. So for the rest of the chapter He talks to them about the fact that He is God and He in fact has the authority to do whatever He wants. He is the new way and He has come to literally change everything since the Jews didn’t seem to be able to follow the laws as God laid them out (verses 18-29).
Then when this doesn’t seem to get through to them either in verses 30 through 46 He switches tactics and actually humiliates Himself to try to make them see. He starts by telling them that He does not do His own will but the Father’s (30), then He basically asks them why they feel as though they believe people who have come before Him but not He Himself. He says that they sent to John the Baptist, who told them that Jesus was coming, yet they do not believe Him when He is telling them the exact same thing. How could they possibly believe a person and then turn around and not believe the real thing who is standing right in front of them, who literally just healed a man with one sentence? That’s completely nuts!
But here’s the good part, after this Jesus tells them plain and simple that He is God whether they believe it or not (“Not that the testimony that I receive is from man…”). He is not affected by their belief or by our belief either! He is God, period. So since He is God and whether we believe or not doesn’t change that, then why is He putting so much effort into trying to prove Himself to the Jews throughout this chapter? The answer comes in the second part of this verse, “…but I say these things so that you may be saved.” It’s simple Jesus puts so much effort into pursuing these people and all of us BECAUSE HE WANTS US TO BE SAVED!! Isn’t that wonderful? The God-man, the savior of the world who is part of the Holy Trinity wants us to be saved by His mercy! Contrary to popular belief He is NOT just sitting “upstairs” watching us screw up. No! He is genuinely pursuing us daily by whatever means necessary!
Not only had Jesus already given up His holiness and His place in heaven to come down and speak to these people, but He humbled Himself even more by admitting to the fact that they would not believe Him but instead would rather believe mere men whom He had sent before Him. Do you understand how embarrassing that is? For God to stand in front of a bunch religious hypocrites who wanted to kill Him and admit that they would not believe Him, but preferred to believe a human. That’s humiliation right there and this incident is only the beginning! God willingly humiliated Himself for you and I, Hallelujah!
Think about it and thank Him for making the most unfair trade in all the Universe: our sin and death for His righteousness.