In this passage the author lays out the testimony of God, “given through the Spirit,” regarding his Son:
v. 9 for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.
v. 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
The words “the One who came“ echo verses from other parts of the text that reference Jesus as the one who comes or has come into the world:
- for the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.”
— John 6:33
- I came forth from the Father and have come into the world
- She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, and He who comes into the world.”
— John 11:27
It seems possible, therefore, that the word “came” is a reference to Jesus’ incarnation. If so, then the water and the blood may pertain to Jesus’ dual nature. The water, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, represents his divinity:
- “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He said in reference to the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive —John 7:37-39
And the blood, as in his flesh and blood, represents his humanity.
- Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil —Heb 2:14
The passage lays out the case that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God by affirming both his divine and human attributes. For this interpretation, the word “came” is key. That said, there tends to be an air of mystery and impenetrability whenever the Spirit is invoked, and this passage is no exception.