John 3:31-34 (NIV): “The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.”
John states clearly right here why Jesus was so vastly superior to himself. As good as John was, as full of the spirit, as passionate as he was, he was still a mere human being. His theology was correct, as far as it went, because it had come from God. But it only went so far. It was incomplete. All of God’s knowledge is too vast to fit into a human brain.
But Jesus was different, because He wasn’t a mere man. He was God in the flesh. Even though His brain was human, like John’s, His knowledge of God and of His kingdom was not limited by His brain. It flowed through His spirit.
When John spoke about God, he spoke from education and revelation. But when Jesus spoke about God, He spoke from personal experience. He had spent all of eternity at one with the Father. He had been active in the very creation of the universe. John was of the earth, and spoke of earthly things. Jesus was from heaven, and spoke of heavenly things, which no one but Him had seen.
But the problem with heavenly words is that a lot of people of the earth won’t receive them. They don’t fit into our puny brains, and seem like nonsense to those who are spiritually dead (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14). Even to those who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the Jews, the words of Jesus often seemed like nonsense. They sparked confusion, indignation, and even anger. Jesus’ words made those “spiritual elites” feel stupid, like they were missing something right in front of them that Jesus, despite His lack of credentials and formal schooling, could see clearly. (Which was actually true!)
Just as it was true that those who received Jesus received the God who sent Him (Matthew 10:40), so those who accepted Jesus’ words accepted the truthfulness of God’s revelation through Him, certifying that God was truthful. And, of course, the opposite is true: those who rejected Jesus were rejecting the God who sent Him. And those who rejected His words were calling the God behind those words a liar!
Father, these are pretty blunt truths. But they are vital for us to hear. To treat Jesus lightly is to treat You lightly. To receive Him is to receive You; to reject Him is to reject You. To believe Him is to believe You. But to reject His words is to call You a liar! Help us, Lord, to keep ourselves spiritually alive and alert so that we can not only hear the words of Jesus, but so that we can receive them and believe them, and thus receive and believe You. Amen.