“What He Hath Seen and Heard”

Jn. 3:31-36 is a section which is viewed by some as the comments of John the apostle while others consider it to be the comments of John the baptizer. John the baptizer contrasts Jesus with himself. Jesus was from above and above all. He spoke of heavenly things. John was of the earth and spoke of earthly things. Quite a contrast!

Because Jesus is from above and above all, He is qualified to speak of things above. He can speak of things He saw and heard there. We must accept His words for we have not been there to see and hear for ourselves. “Things above” are wondrous things and sometimes unlawful for man to utter. In his second letter to Corinth, Paul mentions having known a man who was “caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable things, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:2-4). That person whom Paul “knew” was himself, as 2 Corinthians 12:7 shows. But since Jesus spoke of the possibility of revealing heavenly things to Nicodemus (Jn. 3:12), some “things from above” or “heavenly things” can be revealed — by the proper Being.

Because John was from the earth and without revelation of heavenly things from God, it was impossible for him to speak of “heavenly things.” But Jesus was from above and was qualified to speak of those things He saw and heard. Consider this following illustration. On the great day of questioning during the final week of Jesus before He was sentenced to be crucified, the Sadducees (who did not believe in a future resurrection) brought a perplexing problem to Jesus. They said, “Teacher, Moses said If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren and the first married and deceased and having no seed, left his wife unto his brother; in like manner the second also, and the third unto the seventh. And after them all, the woman died. In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven, for they all had her” (Matt. 22:24-28). Without doubt this was a stock argument the Sadducees offered the Pharisees when they discussed the subject of the resurrection, and while the Pharisees in turn could have offered passages from the Old Testament that taught of the resurrection, this counter argument might have left some confused.

The problem (a supposed argument in heaven among seven brethren as to which of them the woman should belong because “they all had her”) had a major flaw: the Sadducees were applying earthly things to heavenly. But how were they to know about marriage in heaven? The solution came from the One who had been in heaven and knew what occurred there. Jesus was an eyewitness of heavenly things. He responded, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are as angels in heaven” (Matt. 22:29-30). This decimated the argument of the Sadducees because Jesus had been in heaven and they had not. He knew what God planned for the resurrection (man would not marry then) and He knew that angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. This destroys the contention some make that angels cohabited with humans, producing “mighty men.” This argument is fashioned from Genesis 6:2: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair and took them wives of all that they chose.” According to Jesus, this was a false argument. But where would one have learned about the nature of angels without this revelation from Jesus?

The Sadducees erred not only because they did not know the power of God, but also because they did not know the Scriptures. Jesus dumbfounded these false teachers about the resurrection by referring them to Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush. There God identified Himself to Moses saying, “I am the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Mt. 22:31-32), thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all still live. The Sadducees could have known this truth because they had the Scriptures but did not know them. The multitude was astonished at His teaching!

Not only is Jesus to be believed because He came from heaven, a fitting eye-witness of things which happen there, but when God sent His Son into the world He qualified Him to be sufficient in what He taught. The Father gave Him the Holy Spirit and “He giveth not the Spirit by measure” (Jn. 3:34). He had full, complete knowledge on whatever subject He spoke!

Jesus is an adequate, sufficient teacher whose words can be confidently trusted. He has been in heaven and is an eyewitness of heavenly things, and when the Father sanctified and sent Him into the world, He gave Him full revelation of  the things that relate to man in his dealings and relationship with God. Thus, “He that hath received His (Jesus’) witness hath set his seal to this, that God is true” (Jn. 3:33).

Jim McDonald