“This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
Now we come to the combined testimony of three witnesses to Christ the Messiah. All three testimonies point to the same end – that Jesus is the Son of God.
John has been emphasizing that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who stepped foot into humanity as Jesus. John stresses the nature of the testimony about the incarnation in verses 6-8 and His deity in 9-12.
The Greek word for “witness” occurs 10 times in verses 6-12, translated by different English words. John employs legal testimony to ratify his argument.
“This” refers to the mention of Jesus Christ as the Son of God in the previous verse.
is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ;
The purpose of Jesus’ coming was to save sinners.
1 Ti 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
He 10:5, “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.’”
not only by water,
The “water” here may refer to Jesus’ baptism in water by John the Baptist. However, it may refer to the water that flowed out of His side on the cross (Jn 19:34). I believe it is best to take “water” as the baptism of Christ because the false teachers of John’s day believed that the Messiah came upon Jesus at His baptism and not at His birth. The emphasis on His blood indicates that Jesus was Messiah not only in His life but even in His death.
but by water and blood.
The “blood” refers to the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Cerinthus and other false teachers of the first century taught that the Messiah descended on the human Jesus at His baptism and left Him before His crucifixion. John argues here polemically against this heresy.
The only other passage where “water” and “blood” occur together is John 19:34. The “water” in that case was the water that flowed from the side of Christ on the cross. John uses “blood” in this book (1:7) for the sacrificial death of Christ.
He 9:12, “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
Certainty is possible for the Christian because he rests his belief on objective witnesses.
Faith leans on testimony. The validity of the testimony about Christ is at the heart of Christian belief. Man cannot receive testimony by himself. There are no human categories available to him through which he can understand it.
Ben Franklin said in 1789, “Nothing is for certain but death and taxes.” The Bible disagrees with this assertion. The Bible asserts the concept of certainty because it offers categories whereby we can know something for sure.
The spirit of our age is relativism, which asserts that there are no absolutes. People who declare conviction or certainty about something are viewed as odd and rigid by those who say, “We cannot know anything for sure. Who are you to tell me that I am wrong?” This spirit has so pervaded preachers of the church (not necessarily preachers of Christ) that Christians have become people with little or no conviction.
Christianity rests upon truth, a truth beyond ourselves and about Jesus Christ. A finite man cannot come to ultimate truth by his own wits. His opinion is no better than anyone else’s opinion. However, the Christian has two dynamics that afford him certainty: 1) the objective Word of God and 2) the internal witness of the Holy Spirit Himself.