Scriptures in Question:
Matthew 3:17 and John 5:37
Matthew 3:17 records that at the baptism of Jesus a miraculous sign was given: “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
This verse is often contrasted with ones found in the Gospel of John which tell us: “And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form" (John 5:37).
So do Matthew and John contradict each other? Was the voice of God heard or not?
First, we must understand that these verses are both talking about God the Father, as we see clearly in Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 3:17 where the voice said “This is my Son…” and John 5:37 where the Father is specifically named.
But there is no contradiction between Matthew and John’s accounts, as Matthew does not say it was the voice of God himself that onlookers heard. Certainly the voice said “This is my Son …” so we know the message was from God, but God has used many messengers to deliver his words.
We should remember that in his preincarnate form Christ himself was the “Logos” or “Word” of God (John 1:1, 14), acting as the “Spokesperson” of God (compare Genesis 1 and Hebrews 1:2).
Since Christ, the primary spokesperson for God, was now in human form, the voice that was heard from heaven must clearly have been that of an angelic messenger relaying this message on behalf of God, just as angels are recorded to have delivered messages at various points in the Gospels, such as when they spoke to Mary at the time of Christ’s conception (Luke 1:26-38) and to the shepherds at the time of his birth (Luke 2:8-20).
What Matthew records regarding the voice heard at the baptism of Jesus is doubtless another example of the angelic delivering of God’s words, and Matthew’s statement does not contradict the words of Christ recorded in John that no one has heard the actual voice of God the Father.