Sixth Sunday of Easter [b] May 9, 2021
1 John 5:1–8
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6This 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. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
In the Name of Jesus.
God bears witness to you: There are three that testify, says the Apostle John, the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are of one. This is God bearing witness to you and me and our families.
To testify, to bear witness is to speak the truth in such a way that your name is at stake.
This isn’t me saying such as, “It sure is hot outside,” or you saying, “This apple tastes good.” In saying subjective things such as that, we don’t really put our name at stake; it’s not as if being wrong would bring dishonor.
Bearing witness is you or me stating a fact for which we want to be held accountable. It’s stating something in such a way that if we are lying, our name is dishonored.
God the Holy Spirit bears witness to you and me and our families. His puts his at stake. He bears witness to us by the water and the blood.
The water. Jesus walked down to the Jordan to be baptized by John. In that water, the One who had no sin was joined to all sinners. The author of life took death upon himself. The holy one was set into the office of bearing the sins of the unholy ones, to stand in for us to give the ransom. Mark 1:9:
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, [Jesus] saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from Heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The water bears witness. This one, Jesus of Nazareth—the testimony of the water of his Baptism is that he is God the Son sent by the Father to save sinners. By the mouth of the prophet John, the Holy Spirit bears witness to us that this Jesus, by his Baptism, is now bearing our sins.
The blood. Jesus’ Baptism took him to the cross. The water anointed him for this, that he would shed blood to atone for all sinners. The blood now bears witness that the price has been paid, the death has been exacted, the sinner is redeemed. This is the blood that cleanses us of all sin. [1 John 1:7]
The water and the blood—the water of Jesus being baptized to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and the blood poured out on the cross to atone for all sin and cleanse every sinner. All promised by the Holy Spirit through the prophets.
But this testimony is only good as God testifies it to the sinner. If the sinner doesn’t hear it, how does it help? So God speaks the testimony to the sinner, to you and me. 1 John 5:6:
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. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
The water and blood are to you and me, and this is by the Holy Spirit.
The water to you and me. Matthew 28:18:
Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded unto you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This water testifies to you and me and our children, as God the Holy Spirit, by the water and the word, places the holy Name on us, so that in this Baptism given us, Jesus is with us always, even to the end of the age.
In this water of Baptism, Jesus testifies that he sanctifies you, cleansing you of all sin and gathering you into the Church. Ephesians 5:26:
Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.
This is the testimony Jesus gives to little Luke this morning. Publicly, in the midst of the Lord’s people, the Holy Spirit testifies, This one belongs to the Lord. This one bears the Name. This one belongs each day to the forgiveness of sins and life-everlasting. Hearing the testimony of the water of Baptism, along with little Luke the whole Church is brought into the rejoicing.
The blood to you and me. The blood shed on the cross, the blood ransoming sinners, it is given to you. Matthew 26:26:
After a blessing, [Jesus] broke [the bread] and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the [new] testament, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
This is the ongoing testimony of Jesus in the Church as through all generations he continues distributing his blood of the cross to those who come after the cross.
This is all by gift given you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is gathering the baptized to the Lord’s Name where they hear the testimony of Jesus.
Jesus is testifying to the them that his blood is for them, for their benefit and salvation, for the forgiveness of every sin. This blood is his Last Will and Testament. He spoke it right before his death, so that upon his death, the wealth and benefit of his blood would continually be distributed in his Church. The wealth and benefit of his blood is never to be left unknown. The wealth is this: the forgiveness of your sins, for where sins are forgiven, there is life and salvation.
The Spirit and the water and the blood, there are three that testify.
The testimony of the water: Jesus baptized, being clothed with all the sin of every sinner; the Holy Spirit baptizing you, clothing you with the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
The testimony of the blood: Jesus shedding the blood of the cross to atone for the sins of the world, those sins into which he, though he had no sin himself, had been baptized. And this testimony is the Holy Spirit gathering you into the Church to bring to you the holy blood for the forgiveness of sins.
God the Holy Spirit testifies to you. He is there in the Word. He testifies by the water and the blood. That testimony is the Gospel. By that testimony, you are saved.
In the Name of Jesus.