Not only had John the Baptist, and Jesus’ miracles testified about the Messiah’s identity, but so too did God the Father. In an attempt to persuade the religious leaders that He was the Messiah, Jesus reminded them that the Father had given an audible endorsement of His Son. He said:
“If it were just Me talking about Myself, My testimony wouldn't be valid. John announced the truth about Me. The works the Father gave Me to do, prove I'm the real thing. The Father Himself has testified about Me. The Scriptures testify about Me." (John 5:31-37)1
Along with three other forms of testimony, Jesus points to a handful of events which would have left a lasting impression. The first time it happened Jesus had just been baptized. As was customary, a large crowd was attending John the Baptist’s dunking services, but this day Jesus was in attendance. He was baptized by John when suddenly a sign and a voice came from heaven:
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-18)
Two forms of testimony happen almost at the same time. The Holy Spirit takes a visible form, which is extremely rare. God's Spirit is like the wind, usually unseen. However, in this case the Holy Spirit takes on a visible form and comes down and alights on Jesus. What a sight that must have been! A second testimony took place a moment later. The voice of the Father breaks a long silence to announce that Jesus is His Son. This too is an incredible rarity.
The Children of Israel, when they were in the wilderness, were so afraid of the voice of God that they asked for God to speak through Moses, and later through the prophets, instead of speaking to them directly. (Exodus 20:19) God had honored their wishes with very few exceptions for thousands of years. At this moment He altered that long-held trend and addresses the crowd directly.
This is not the only time when Jesus received audible confirmation from God the Father. Jesus could have an audible conversation with His Father, and the Father would audibly answer in public. While a crowd was listening to Him in Jerusalem Jesus said:
“Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:18)
This is no magician act. Jesus could have a voice-to-voice conversation with His Heavenly Father right there in the middle of a crowd. What an amazing thing it would have been to watch Jesus work. You just never knew what you were going to see and hear. This should have convinced everyone standing there that He was the Messiah, but some missed the miracle:
The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. (John 12:29)
Some decidedly chalked it up to a coincidental thunderstorm. Others credited an angel with the booming words. It seems that the crowd wasn't ready to admit what they had just heard. That's not surprising, considering that most of this crowd still didn't believe, even after all they had seen. (John 12:37)
Around that same time, toward the end of Jesus' ministry, God's voice attested to Jesus, but this time in a less public setting. Jesus took Peter, James, and John onto a local mountain and to their astonishment, they heard the voice once again:
A bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matthew 17:5)
Yes, Sir. Will do. Can you imagine hearing such a voice? How could you get more confirmation than that? Peter, James, and John were allowed this special experience that none other would know until after His resurrection.
At least three distinct times a voice audibly attested to Jesus’ authenticity. Clearly, whoever the voice belonged to was Jesus’ Dad. Since Jesus often called God His Father, we are left with this inscrutable fact. The Almighty God verbally testified that Jesus was His Son. The voice of the Father gave a positive I.D. of His Only Begotten. Jesus offers these known events as evidence of His identity.
1 Author’s paraphrase for the publication, How You Can Live Forever.