John 5:30-32, "By Myself I can do nothing."

by Matt Slick

"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. 31"If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true. 32"There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the testimony which He bears of Me is true," (John 5:30-32, NASB).

Jehovah's Witnesses use these verses in their attempt to say that Jesus is not God. They reason that if Jesus were really God in flesh, then He could do anything He wanted to do; but here we see that Jesus says that He can do nothing on His own initiative. If this is true, then how can Jesus be God in flesh?

The answer is that Jesus is both God and man in one person. This doctrine is called the hypostatic union. As a man, Jesus was under the law and was obligated to keep the law (Gal. 4:4). In His humbled state of being lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9), Jesus was cooperating with the limitations of being a man (Phil. 2:5-8). Therefore, He was in complete subjection to the Father so that He might fulfill the law and be the high priest sacrifice for our sins (Heb. 5:10).

Furthermore, Jesus did not begin His miracles until His baptism. It was at that point that the Holy Spirit came upon Him.  Therefore, Jesus was performing His miracles not by His own power but by the power of the Holy Spirit. This explains why in Matt. 12:22-32 when the Pharisees said that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of the devil, Jesus said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. In other words, Jesus was doing His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit and not under His own divine power which He had laid aside the rightful use of while he walked this earth doing the Father's will.

Therefore, these verses do not mean that Jesus is not divine; but it does mean that Jesus, as a man, was completely and totally in submission to the will of the Father and that Jesus would only do the will of the Father as the text clearly says.






About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.