Gospel of John

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What is the meaning of John 5:30?

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30, ESV)

Jesus says this in the middle of a conversation about the authority of the Son of God. The religious leaders of Israel challenged his authority because they were jealous of his popularity among the people of Israel.

He explains his relationship with the Father. While Jesus was on earth, he limited his divinity, at least in some situations. He is proclaiming that the Father is in charge of everything that he does. He doesn’t do anything that would displease the Father.

This is why he says, “I can do nothing on my own.” He is under orders from the Father while on earth. He is the dutiful son who does what his Father wants. This shouldn’t be taken out of context to say that Jesus couldn’t do anything. But everything that he did glorified God because he was doing what God wanted him to do.

Jesus declares that he doesn’t witness about himself. He relies on the witness of the Holy Spirit and the Father. He’s not relying on his own divinity to prove his authority. This is why he works in concert with the other members of the Trinity.

Although he is working in concert with the Father, he also can hear and judge for himself. And because he is divine, his judgment is perfect. We are not to get the idea that Jesus is a mindless drone for the Father. He does make his own decisions and they are perfect.

Everything he does, including the judgments he makes on the world, are exactly what need to happen because he is working with the Father. Everything is set in place the way that God wanted it to be when he sent Jesus to the earth.

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