John 5:19-30

The Authority of the Son

19 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, 1the Son 2can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father[a] does, that the Son does likewise.
20 For 3the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And 4greater works than these will he show him, so that 5you may marvel.
21 For as the Father 6raises the dead and 7gives them life, so 8also the Son gives life 9to whom he will.
22 10The Father judges no one, but 11has given all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honor the Son, just as they 12honor the Father. 13Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, 14whoever hears my word and 15believes him who sent me has eternal life. He 16does not come into judgment, but 17has passed from death to life.
25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, 18an hour is coming, and is now here, when 19the dead will hear 20the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear 21will live.
26 22For as the Father has life in himself, 23so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
27 And he 24has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this, for 25an hour is coming when 26all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29 and come out, 27those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Witnesses to Jesus

30 28"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and 29my judgment is just, because 30I seek not my own will 31but the will of him who sent me.

John 5:19-30 Meaning and Commentary


In this chapter the apostle treats of the nature of faith and love; of Christ the object of both, and of the witness that is bore to him; of the necessity of believing the testimony concerning him; of the confidence of prayer being heard, and concerning whom it should be made; of the happiness of regenerate persons, and of their duty to keep themselves from idols. Faith in Christ is the evidence of regeneration, and where that is, there will be love to the author of regeneration, and to them that are regenerated; and love to them is known by love to God, and keeping his commandments; and keeping the commandments of God, and which are not grievous, is a proof of love to God, 1Jo 5:1-3; and whereas every regenerate man overcomes the world, it is by his faith, the evidence of his regeneration, that this victory is obtained; nor can any other man be pointed out that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God, 1Jo 5:4,5; and Christ, the Son of God, the object of this victorious faith, is described by his coming by water and blood, of which the spirit is witness, who is a true one; and six witnesses of the truth of this and his divine sonship are produced, three in heaven, the Father, Word, and Spirit, who are the one God, and three on earth, the Spirit, water, and blood, who agree in their testimony, 1Jo 5:6-8; wherefore this testimony concerning the Son of God ought to be received, since it is the testimony of God, which is greater than that of men; besides, he that believes in Christ has a witness of this in himself, and honours God, whereas he that believes not makes God a liar, not giving credit to his record concerning his Son; the sum of which is, that God has made a grant of eternal life to some persons, which is in his Son, which those that believe in the Son of God have, but those that do not believe in him have it not: all which show the necessity of receiving the above testimony; and the ends proposed in writing these things were, to believe in Christ, and that it might be known they had eternal life in him, 1Jo 5:9-13, and from faith in Christ the apostle passes to confidence in prayer, as a particular effect and fruit of it: as, that whatever is asked according to the will of God is heard; and that such who are satisfied of this, that they are heard, may be assured that they have the petitions they desire to have, 1Jo 5:14,15, and whereas it is one branch of prayer to pray for others as well as for ourselves, the apostle directs who we should pray for; for the brethren in general, and in particular for such who have sinned, but not unto death, and life shall be given to such: but as for those who have sinned unto death, he does not say prayer should be made for them, for though all unrighteousness in general is sin, yet there is a particular sin which is unto death, and is not to be prayed for, 1Jo 5:16,17; but happy are those who are born of God, for they do not sin this sin; and through the use of the armour of God, and the power of divine grace, they keep themselves from the evil one, and he cannot come at them, to draw them into this sin; also they know that they are of God, and are distinguished from the world, which lies in wickedness; yea, they know that the Son of God is come in the flesh, and hath given them an understanding of the true God, by which they know that they are in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who is with him, and the divine Spirit, the one true God, and the author and giver of eternal life, 1Jo 5:18-20; and the chapter, and with it the epistle, is concluded with an exhortation to these regenerate ones, as they had kept themselves from Satan, that they would also keep themselves from idols of all sorts, 1Jo 5:21.

Cross References 31

  • 1. See ver. 30
  • 2. [John 16:13]
  • 3. John 3:35; John 10:17; John 15:9, 10; John 17:23-26; [Matthew 3:17]
  • 4. [John 14:12]
  • 5. John 7:21
  • 6. [Deuteronomy 32:39; 2 Corinthians 1:9]
  • 7. Romans 4:17; Romans 8:11
  • 8. [John 6:33; John 11:25]; See 1 Corinthians 15:45
  • 9. [Romans 9:18]
  • 10. [Acts 17:31]
  • 11. ver. 27; John 9:39; Acts 10:42; [John 3:17]; See John 17:2
  • 12. John 8:49
  • 13. Luke 10:16; [John 15:23; 1 John 2:23]
  • 14. [John 8:51]
  • 15. John 20:31; 1 John 5:9-13; [John 3:15, 36; John 12:44]
  • 16. John 3:18; [ver. 29]
  • 17. 1 John 3:14
  • 18. See John 4:21, 23
  • 19. See Ephesians 2:1, 5
  • 20. [John 11:43]
  • 21. See Ephesians 2:1, 5
  • 22. [John 6:57]
  • 23. See John 1:4; John 17:2
  • 24. ver. 22
  • 25. [See ver. 25 above]
  • 26. John 11:24; 1 Corinthians 15:52; [John 11:44, 45]
  • 27. See Daniel 12:2
  • 28. ver. 19; John 8:28; John 14:10
  • 29. John 8:16
  • 30. John 4:34; John 6:38; [John 7:18; Romans 15:3]
  • 31. See Matthew 26:39

Footnotes 1

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.