In a long monologue directed at some religious people, Jesus says, “If I testify on my own behalf, what I say is not to be accepted as real proof.” 
Of course, I’m being facetious. I don’t mean to say that Jesus is telling people not to trust him. I’m not saying that Jesus is a liar, unreliable and at the very least, self-serving.
No. Even I would not go that far.
The Verdict (1982)
What I am looking at is the nature of testimony and witnessing. These terms are used a lot in evangelicalism. We use “testimony” to refer to how a Christian came to become a Christian. And “witness” refers to sharing this testimony with other people.
But, interestingly, these are not just religious terms. They are also legal terms.
In a court of law, testimony refers to “a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official.” While witness refers to “one that gives evidence.” 
I think these “legalistic” definitions can be very helpful.
For instance, when we think about testimonies at church, I often think of a hodge-podge of wishful-thinking, personal-revisionism, and stand-up comedy. Which is okay. But what I don’t think of is the solemnity of giving truthful evidence. I don’t recall seeing or hearing a pastor prepare the testimony giver in the same way a judge would. Asking them to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And also that, if they should fail to do so, they risk being thrown in prison for perjury. 
And what about taking a look at witnesses, under a legal lens? There are, in court, many kinds of witnesses. All of them with different roles and different levels of trust-worthiness. And the “truth” is arrived at by putting together the entire collection of these witnesses.
So, what if, when we present witnesses to give their testimonies, we bring out the whole lot of them?
- The Eye Witness: to share what they actually saw and heard
- The Expert Witness: to testify what science, academia, or vocation would attest to
- The Character Witness: to support the trustworthiness of the main testimony
- The Hostile Witness: Perhaps the most important, the witness that is not just neutral, but would have something to gain by disproving the main testimony
Cloud of Witnesses – Chance McMahon
Going back to Jesus in the Gospel of John (chapter 5) talking to the religious leaders. He admits that they cannot trust him if he is his one and only witness. Because, what fool would accept the word of a person claiming to be God’s son without more proof! 
So he goes on.
He has an eye-witness, the formerly crippled man whom Jesus had just healed.
He has a character witness, John the Baptist, who proclaimed Jesus’ arrival as the messiah.
He has an expert witness, Moses himself, as written in authoritative scripture.
And he has a hostile witness. Sort of.
Later, a political leader, Pilate, despite having nothing to gain by sparing him, testifies that he sees no wrong-doing on Jesus’ part. 
But I like to imagine that this hostile witness is also the heart of the religious leaders, convicting them that they’ve got something wrong. And this guilt in their heart hardens them (even as it grieves them) because they’ve committed too much of themeselves to their religion. So even if they see their (our?) mistakes, they can’t go back. And their only option is to build a counter-case against Jesus.
 John 5:31
 Mirriam-Webster’s No.1 definition of witness is: a (1) : the tablets inscribed with the Mosaic law (2) : the ark containing the tablets. b : a divine decree attested in the Scriptures
 These judgmental comments reflect the first time I gave my testimony in my small hometown church. I went out of my way to craft a story: complete with a motive, setting, plot, dramatic turning point, and resolution. It was kinda a good story. And very close 25% fictionalized. So really, it was kinda a good based-on-a-true story.
 It’s an irony that Jesus, in this monologue, delivers a compelling legal case for himself because later the same legal system will be used to convict him of the capital crimes of blasphemy and breaking the sabbath.
 Matthew 27:24