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John 5:19

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The Son can do nothing of himself - Jesus, having stated the extent of his authority, proceeds here to show its “source and nature,” and to prove to them that what he had said was true. The first explanation which he gives is in these words: “The Son” - whom he had just impliedly affirmed to be equal with God - did nothing “of himself;” that is, nothing without the appointment of the Father; nothing contrary to the Father, as he immediately explains it. When it is said that he can “do nothing” of himself, it is meant that such is the union subsisting between the Father and the Son that he can do nothing “independently” or separate from the Father. Such is the nature of this union that he can do nothing which has not the concurrence of the Father, and which he does not command. In all things he must, from the necessity of his nature, act in accordance with the nature and will of God. Such is the intimacy of the union, that the fact that “he” does anything is proof that it is by the concurring agency of God. There is no separate action - no separate existence; but, alike in being and in action, there is the most perfect oneness between him and the Father. Compare John 10:30; John 17:21.

What he seeth the Father do - In the works of creation and providence, in making laws, and in the government of the universe. There is a special force in the word “seeth” here. No person can see God acting in his works; but the word here implies that the Son sees him act, as we see our fellow-men act, and that he has a knowledge of him, therefore, which no mere mortal could possess.

What things soever - In the works of creation and of providence, and in the government of the worlds. The word is without limit - all that the Father does the Son likewise does. This is as high an assertion as possible of his being “equal” with God. If one does “all” that another does or can do, then there must be equality. If the Son does all that the Father does, then, like him, he must be almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, and infinite in every perfection; or, in other words, he must be God. If he had “this” power, then he had authority, also, to do on the Sabbath day what God did.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Divine power of the miracle proved Jesus to be the Son of God, and he declared that he worked with, and like unto his Father, as he saw good. These ancient enemies of Christ understood him, and became more violent, charging him not only with sabbath-breaking, but blasphemy, in calling God his own Father, and making himself equal with God. But all things now, and at the final judgment, are committed to the Son, purposely that all men might honour the Son, as they honour the Father; and every one who does not thus honour the Son, whatever he may think or pretend, does not honour the Father who sent him.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Son can do nothing of himself - Because of his inseparable union with the Father: nor can the Father do any thing of himself, because of his infinite unity with the Son.

What things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son - God does nothing but what Christ does. What God does is the work of God, and proper to no creature - Jesus does whatsoever God does, and therefore is no created being. The Son can do nothing but what he sees the Father do: now, any intelligent creature may do what God cannot do: he may err - he may sin. If Jesus can do nothing but what God does, then he is no creature - he can neither sin nor err, nor act imperfectly. The conclusion from our Lord's argument is: If I have broken the Sabbath, so has God also; for I can do nothing but what I see him doing. He is ever governing and preserving; I am ever employed in saving.

Ellen G. White
Steps to Christ, 75

All that Christ was to the disciples, He desires to be to His children today; for in that last prayer, with the little band of disciples gathered about Him, He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” John 17:20. SC 75.1

Jesus prayed for us, and He asked that we might be one with Him, even as He is one with the Father. What a union is this! The Saviour has said of Himself, “The Son can do nothing of Himself;” “the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” John 5:19; 14:10. Then if Christ is dwelling in our hearts, He will work in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. We shall work as He worked; we shall manifest the same spirit. And thus, loving Him and abiding in Him, we shall “grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:15. SC 75.2

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 410

Many who are seeking efficiency for the exalted work of God by perfecting their education in the schools of men will find that they have failed of learning the more important lessons. By neglecting to submit themselves to the impressions of the Holy Spirit, by not living in obedience to all God's requirements, their spiritual efficiency has become weakened; they have lost what ability they had to do successful work for the Lord. Absenting themselves from the school of Christ, they have forgotten the sound of the Teacher's voice, and He cannot direct their course. CT 410.1

Men may acquire all the knowledge possible to be imparted by the human teacher, but God requires of them still greater wisdom. Like Moses, they must learn meekness, lowliness of heart, and distrust of self. Our Saviour Himself, when bearing the test for humanity, acknowledged that of Himself He could do nothing. We also must learn that there is no strength in humanity alone. Man becomes efficient only by becoming partaker of the divine nature. CT 410.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 268

This truth can in the highest sense be acted, and exemplified before the children. “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.” FE 268.1

Let teachers bear this in mind, and never lose sight of it when they are inclined to have their feelings stirred against the children and youth for any misbehavior; let them remember that the angels of God are looking upon them sorrowfully; for if the children do err and misbehave, then it is all the more essential that those who are placed over them as teachers should be able to teach them by precept and example. In no case are they to lose self-control, to manifest impatience and harshness, and want of sympathy and love; for these children are the property of Jesus Christ, and teachers must be very careful and God-fearing in regard to the spirit they cherish and the words they utter, for the children will catch the spirit manifested, be it good or evil. It is a heavy and a sacred responsibility. FE 268.2

There need to be teachers who are thoughtful, considerate of their own weakness and infirmities and sins, and who will not be oppressive and discourage the children and youth. There needs to be much praying, much faith, much forbearance and courage, which the Lord is ready to bestow. For God sees every trial, and a wonderful influence can be exerted by teachers, if they will practice the lessons which Christ has given them. But will these teachers consider their own wayward course, that they make very feeble efforts to learn in the school of Christ and practice Christlike meekness and lowliness of heart? The teachers should be themselves in obedience to Jesus Christ, and ever practicing His words, that they may exemplify the character of Jesus Christ to the students. Let your light shine in good works, in faithful watching and caring for the lambs of the flock, with patience, with tenderness, and the love of Jesus in your own hearts. FE 269.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 268-9

The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. 8T 268.1

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?” Hebrews 1:1-5. 8T 268.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 204-13

The Jews had so perverted the law that they made it a yoke of bondage. Their meaningless requirements had become a byword among other nations. Especially was the Sabbath hedged in by all manner of senseless restrictions. It was not to them a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honorable. The scribes and Pharisees had made its observance an intolerable burden. A Jew was not allowed to kindle a fire nor even to light a candle on the Sabbath. As a consequence the people were dependent upon the Gentiles for many services which their rules forbade them to do for themselves. They did not reflect that if these acts were sinful, those who employed others to perform them were as guilty as if they had done the work themselves. They thought that salvation was restricted to the Jews, and that the condition of all others, being already hopeless, could be made no worse. But God has given no commandments which cannot be obeyed by all. His laws sanction no unreasonable or selfish restrictions. DA 204.1

In the temple Jesus met the man who had been healed. He had come to bring a sin offering and also a thank offering for the great mercy he had received. Finding him among the worshipers, Jesus made Himself known, with the warning words, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” DA 204.2

The healed man was overjoyed at meeting his Deliverer. Ignorant of the enmity toward Jesus, he told the Pharisees who had questioned him, that this was He who had performed the cure. “Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day.” DA 204.3

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