37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
The third witness that Jesus called forth was the Word of the Father (vv. 37-38). The Father was a witness to the works of the Son. This was Jesus’ primary witness.
And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.
The Father Himself witnessed about Jesus. This was a verbal witness for Jesus found in Old Testament Scripture. “Has testified” indicates that the Father’s witness about Jesus was no new thing. Scripture from its very beginning has testified of the coming of the Messiah.
You have neither heard His voice at any time,
Jewish leaders studied the Old Testament about the coming Messiah, but they missed the connection between their Scripture and Jesus as the Messiah. The Bible made clear revelation of Jesus, but the people of His day were blind to their own Scriptures.
nor seen His form.
No one has seen the complete glory of the Father. None has seen Him physically because He is Spirit. The unseen God, however, disclosed Himself in the written Word. Jesus’ audience was completely cut off from knowing God because they were not open to the Word of God. They were utterly estranged from both God and His Word.
The second reason why Israel rejected Jesus was that they did not have God’s Word abiding in them.
The “but” indicates a hostile attitude of Jewish leaders to Jesus in verse 37. Verses 38-40 was a rebuke to this thinking.
you do not have His word abiding in you,
Israel developed negative volition toward what the Father revealed about His Son. This was a direct accusation and indictment against Israel. These Jews did not allow God’s Word to engender faith in their hearts.
because whom He sent, Him [Jesus] you do not believe.
Unbelieving Israel did not believe in the One whom the Father sent. By rejecting the testimony of the Father, Israel also refused Jesus as the Messiah. The Jews did not believe because they were shut down in their volition.
We can access the Father’s witness only through belief in what God says about His Son.
Without the Word of God in our lives, we are empty of capacity to know God. Human opinion cannot be the precursor to belief; otherwise, we would get caught in a vicious cycle of self-perspective. Self-authentication can never arrive at how God validates something. God operates by His own presuppositions.
Negative volition towards God’s truth will negate genuine belief. People shut their ears to truth because they do not want to hear it. Those who truly listen to what God says will believe what He has to offer.
“ the Word of God in our lives, we are empty of capacity to know God” – I believe this to be true. Yet I struggled to understand how is it that those who have never or would never heard of Christ could be safe since they clearly don’t have the word of God.
Aberto, The vast majority of evangelism is done by God Himself. The Holy Spirit convicts the world. Romans 1 shows how people who have never heard of Christ can go positive toward God by looking at creation. You may want to read this study: https://versebyversecommentary.com/2011/01/21/romans-118/