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Jesus Christ on Trial 

You must determine the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth

The Gospel According to John

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 27, In the year of our Lord, 2013



  1. One thousand nine hundred eighty-three years ago, 
    1. a man from Nazareth, Israel, whose name was Jesus,
    2. went on trial for allegedly being the promised Messiah or Christ, because
      1. He said things about himself that no other man could say rightly, I believe.
      2. His disciples wrote down things he did,
        1. which if they be true,
        2. make Him more than an ordinary man.
  2. Let us examine the evidence on Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. 
    1. You are the jury.
    2. John, the apostle and lawyer, will call to the stand seven witnesses.
      1. Then you will have to render a decision
      2. on the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth.
  3. John 20 makes John’s argument clear,

    30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20.30, 31).

    1. John will seek prove two things about Jesus:
      1. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of the Old Testament.
      2. Jesus is the Son of God, making Him deity, God in the flesh.
    2. John begins his argument in this manner,

      1 In the beginning was the Word, and
      the Word was with God, and
      the Word was God.
      (John 1.1).

    3. John wrote this in Greek, which says literally,

      1 In the beginning was the word, and
      the word was with the God, and
      God was the word.
      (John 1.1)

      1. John maintains that Jesus is God, but
      2. not the Father.
  4. John the apostle begins his presentation. 


  1. John’s First Witness: John the Baptist 
    1. “John, what are your credentials and why should we accept your testimony?”

      19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am

      ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
      ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’

      as the prophet Isaiah said” (John 1.19–23).

      1. John the Baptist fulfilled prophecies by Isaiah and Malachi.
      2. John 1.6–8 also tells us who this John the Baptizer was,

        6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light (John 1.6–8).

    2. This makes John a credible witness, “Who then, John, do you say this Jesus is?”

      29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me”’ (John 1.29, 30).

      1. “Are you sure about this?
      2. “How do you know this is true?”

        31 “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1.31–34).

        1. The prophecy did indicate that God would identify his Son
        2. by putting His Spirit upon him,

          1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
          Because the Lord has anointed Me
          To preach good tidings to the poor;
          He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
          To proclaim liberty to the captives,
          And the opening of the prison to those who are bound…”
          (Isa 61.1)

    3. John the Baptist declares that Jesus is the Son of God.
  2. John’s Second Witness (A Group): The Disciples of Christ

    27 “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15.27).

    1. Even Jesus revealed why His disciples made good qualified witnesses, because
      1. they had been with him from the beginning of His ministry.
      2. Let’s question some of them.
    2. First, John calls Andrew, brother of Peter.
      1. “Andrew, since you were with Jesus from the beginning what have you concluded about Him?”

        40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ) (John 1.40, 41).

    3. Philip is next.
      1. “Philip, who do you say this man Jesus is?”

        43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1.43–45).

    4. Nathanael is next and he interests us because he doubted initially.
      1. “Nathanael, based upon your observation who do you say this man is?”

        49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1.49).

      2. “How can you be so sure about this Nathanael?”

        47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1.47, 48).

    5. Next, John calls Peter.
      1. “Peter, you are one who tends to be a leader and says what he honestly believes. Who do you say this Jesus is?”

        68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6.68, 69).

    6. John calls up Martha, though not one of the twelve, yet she was a disciple.

      27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11.27).

    7. John then presents Thomas, who did not believe Jesus has risen from the dead.
      1. “Thomas, who would you say this man Jesus is?”

        24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20.24–28).

    8. The disciples all agree: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
  3. John as the Third Witness 
    1. We could class him with the last group of witnesses, but
      1. we want to consider him alone
      2. since we are studying the evidence he presented.
    2. “John, you defend Jesus because you believe He spoke and lived the truth. Why should we believe your testimony?”

      1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1Jo 1.1–3).

    3. “So then, John, being a close and constant eye witness of these things, who do you say Jesus is?”

      22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son (1Jo 2.22).

      1. In John 19, after Jesus died and a soldier pierced the side of Jesus, John said,

        35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe (John 19.35).

      2. What should we believe, John?
        1. We should believe that the crucifixion of Jesus fulfilled Scripture.
        2. We should believe the argument of the Book (20.30, 31), that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
      3. Later in John 21, after presenting numerous evidences for the messiahship and Sonship of Jesus, John said,

        24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true (John 21.24).

  4. John’s Fourth Witness: The Scriptures 
    1. In John 5, John recorded Jesus simply pointing to the Scriptures,

      39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5.39).

      1. Jesus affirmed that the Old Testament spoke of Him.
        1. If the Old Testament did speak of Jesus,
        2. He is the Christ, the Son of God.
      2. The Old Testament did speak of Jesus.
      3. Therefore, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
    2. Remember what Philip said to Nathanael,

      45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1.45).

    3. In my class, we have already found over 180 times
      1. that the Old Testament spoke of Jesus, and
      2. we are only in Isaiah.
    4. In John 19, the apostle referred to Exodus 12.46 as fulfilled in Jesus,

      36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John 19.36).

  5. John’s Fifth Witness: The Holy Spirit 
    1. Who is the Holy Spirit and why should we listen to Him?

      26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15.26).

      1. Therefore,
        1. being a part of the Godhead,
        2. coming from the Father,
      2. His words declare the final authority.
    2. In John 16, Jesus revealed
      1. that the Spirit would not come
      2. until Jesus died, was resurrected, and ascended to the Father,

        7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16.7).

    3. The Spirit then guided John to write,
      1. so that the Book of John is the Spirit’s testimony, and
      2. John’s Book repeatedly affirms that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
  6. John’s Sixth Witness: The Father 
    1. Who is this witness?

      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” (John 5.37).

      1. The Father sent Jesus; therefore, the Father is greater than Jesus.
      2. He is the Father of Jesus.
      3. That makes the Father the ultimate witness.
    2. The Father bore witness of Jesus in three ways:
      1. Through works

        36 “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5.36).

      2. Through words

        49 “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12.49, 50).

      3. Through the resurrection

        17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10.17, 18).

    3. The Father bears witness that Jesus is the Son of God.
  7. John’s Seventh Witness: Jesus of Nazareth 
    1. “Jesus, why do you consider yourself an adequate witness?”

      23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” (John 18.23).

      1. Can anyone find evil in what Jesus taught?
    2. “Why should we accept your testimony, Jesus?”

      17 “It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me” (John 8.17, 18).

    3. “Well, since no one can dispute your words, what do you say for yourself?”

      17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God (John 5.17, 18).

      38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6.38).

      17 “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7.17).

      30 “I and My Father are one” (John 10.30).


  1. You, the jury, have to make a decision. 
    1. Did Jesus lie? Or,
    2. Was He merely a raving lunatic? Or,
    3. Is He the Lord?
  2. If you believe that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, 
    1. you can have eternal life
    2. by obeying Him.