What did Jesus mean by “I can do nothing on my own?”


Doesn't John 5:30 resemble Mohammed's role which was listening and writing and being sent? Here Jesus says that he is nothing without God.


"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. ruly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 5:22-30).

In the context of this passage, Jesus' authority to heal on the Sabbath was being questioned by the Jewish leaders. "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God" (John 5:18). Jesus responds by discussing his relationship with God the Father and his work.

In this section, Jesus discusses his rights.

A right to receive honor

Jesus claims that his unified relationship with the Father gives him the right to receive equal honor from man. A rejection of him is equal to a rejection of the Father.

The power to give life

Jesus lays out the criteria for receiving life from him. A person must listen to his teachings and believe that the Father holds everlasting life (Hebrews 11:6). The time has come for the spiritually dead to hear the voice of Jesus and live (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). Hearing is not a passive activity, but in the same sense your mother used when she asked, “Did you hear me?” A person who listens to Jesus is a person who does what he asks of him.

Just as God has independent life and the ability to give life to others, Jesus has the same power.

Authority to execute judgment

One day Jesus will call forth all the dead from the graves and pass judgment on them based on their deeds in life. Jesus’ judgment will be righteous because the standard on which the judgments will be based will be in complete harmony with God, the Father’s will. Jesus’ judgments will be unbiased because he is not promoting an agenda separate from the Father (Psalms 40:7-8). That is why Jesus said, "I can do nothing on my own initiative." He is saying he cannot, in his role of Judge of all mankind, go off to implement his own separate agenda.

In each right claimed by Jesus, he is further demonstrating the unity of the Father and himself in all things. This is nothing like the claims Mohammed made hundreds of years later. (And by the way, Mohammed, being illiterate, did no writing so it wasn't a part of his role.)

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