I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.
John 8:17

Here we see Jesus stating that the Father testifies about him. I was thinking about what it means to have another testify on your behalf versus testifying about yourself. A story came to mind that illustrates the mechanism perfectly.

I had just graduated high school and was in the middle of an idyllic road trip to Canada with one of my best friends, Alex. I think we were somewhere in Oregon when we saw a lone convenience store/taco shop combo-type establishment right off the highway. That was a no-brainer since we were hungry, so we pulled off the highway and sauntered in. A guy was standing behind the counter, looking jovial and ready to greet some customers. I shot him with my brightest, “Hey, how are you?” hoping to control the first impression right off the bat. For those of you who don’t know, I walk with a walker, and my speech is a little better than a mouth full of rocks. My face contorts itself randomly, giving a kaleidoscope effect to those trying to read my face. As you can imagine, first impressions are rarely my friend.

This poor guy had no idea what I said, as his practiced greeting melted into a nervous smile and a nod, he was clearly in uncharted waters. So I stood next to Alex and ordered a burrito with all the forced confidence and positivity I could muster. Again, not a clue, Alex translated. Understand that at this stage of my life, I was fairly insecure about the whole thing and was trying to figure out how to do the palsy thing while desperately not wanting anything to do with it. I always hated being the curve ball in someone’s day.

I found a table in the corner and removed myself from the awkward mess, leaving Alex on damage control. I proceeded to have my little pity party while listening to the conversation Alex struck up with this guy. They were talking about the highlights and plans of our road trip. At some point, the guy subtly gestured at me and said,” It’s really good of you to take him with you. You’re his caregiver, right?” My heart sank, but Alex came through in a big way. He proceeded to explain that I’m an ordinary guy with cerebral palsy, that we’re best friends and equals, business partners even. The guy came over, and the three of us talked for quite a while. We ended up having a fantastic time together.

Alex testified to my equality with him and leveraged his own validity to change our new friend’s perspective of me. So now, Alex and I are on equal footing! It’s pretty annoying to try to convince someone you are their equal when they don’t think so. So when Jesus says that the Father testifies about him, he’s saying the Father is granting his own validity to Jesus, so the Jews would see him on par with the Father. Likewise, when we are face to face with our maker, Jesus will testify about us, securing our validity forever.

Thanks, Alex

Jonathan Duncan

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