1 John 5:6-9
God’s Testimony concerning His Son
Testimony is important when seeking the truth about a particular matter. From the beginning, the Mosaic Law required two or three witnesses to establish evidence (Deuteronomy 19:15). John has spent his entire letter bearing witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And he has also indicated the witness of the Spirit that believers have within.
But now the Apostle is going to put the exclamation point on who Jesus is by bringing with the One whose testimony cannot be questioned—and that One, of course, is God. John begins by saying that Jesus came by “water and blood.” The few commentators I read suggest that the water refers to the heavenly witness Jesus received at his baptism and the blood his crucifixion. The additional statement, “not by water only but by the water and the blood,” seems to stress his sacrificial death on our behalf.
I’ve no problem with this interpretation, but I might suggest another: that both the water and the blood suggest his natural birth—an important matter to John who insists that Christ came in the flesh (4:2). We also remember that both water and blood came forth from our Lord’s side when pierced by the Roman’s spear—which breach birthed of our Lord’s Bride, the Church, foreshadowed in Eve’s “birth” from Adam’s side.
But of greater importance than all of this is when the Apostle tells us that “the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is truth.” So whether it was the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary at his conception, testifying to Jesus at his baptism, filling him without measure, working through him to perform miraculous signs—all of these and more are evidences of the testimony of the Spirit of Truth to whom Jesus was and is—and “the testimony of God is greater.” In other words, God has testified that this is His beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased; there is nothing man can add to that.
So the Spirit, water, and blood agree in their testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who came in the flesh. Other ancient versions read, “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one” (see KJV and NKJV). This was a later addition; even so, where the Holy Spirit testifies, the Father and Son testify the same, so there is no need to fret. God has spoken about His Son: Let all the earth be quiet!