I Cannot Do Anything On My Own

Scripture Reading

Jesus answered the Jews:
“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
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,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.”
(John 5:17-30)

Scripture Study

5:17 My Father is working: God the Son imitates God the Father and obeys all that he hears from him (5:19–21). Jesus thus depicts himself as the apprentice of Yahweh, drawing on the familiar custom of sons learning by observation and imitation the trade skills of their fathers.

5:18 equal with God: By calling God his Father, Jesus claims a status of divine Sonship for himself. ● The three Persons of the Trinity equally possess the same fullness of divine life and Being. Although the Son is less than the Father in his humanity (14:28), he is equal to the Father in his divinity (10:33) (CCC 253–54).

5:24 from death to life: Signifies a spiritual transfer from the curses of the Old Covenant to the blessing of the New (Deut 30:15–20; Eph 2:1–5). Believers are rescued from the fallen family of Adam and reinstated in the divine family of God (Rom 5:12–21) (CCC 580, 1470).

5:26 life in himself: The Father is the first link in a chain of supernatural life, since he alone has not received divine life from anyone else. His capacity to give life, however, is shared by Christ, who receives life from the Father and gives it to the world through the sacraments (6:53; 10:10).

5:27 execute judgment: The Son is given absolute sovereignty over life and death, being authorized by the Father to judge the living and the dead and decide their eternal destiny (Mt 25:31–46; Acts 10:42; CCC 679).

5:29 the resurrection: Christ claims the authority to raise all men from death, the righteous and wicked alike (Acts 24:15). ● Two oracles from the OT stand in the background of Jesus’ teaching. (1) Dan 12:2 envisions a final separation of saints and sinners once their bodies have awakened from the sleep of bodily death. (2) Ezek 37:1–4 envisions the resurrection, where bones and flesh are reassembled and made to live again. Rising from the grave is made possible by the spoken words of Ezekiel, called the Son of man, and the life-giving breath of the Spirit. Jesus casts himself in the lead role of these prophetic narratives: he is the “Son of man” (5:27) whose powerful “voice” (5:25) raises the dead from their “tombs” (5:28) and separates them for everlasting “life” or eternal “judgment” (5:29) (CCC 997–1001).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel we see Jesus as the judge who shows mercy and love. It is hard to read any two pages of the Bible—Old Testament or New—and not find the language of divine judgment.

Think of judgment as a sort of light, which reveals both the positive and the negative. Beautiful things look even more beautiful when the light shines on them; ugly things look even uglier when they come into the light. When the divine light shines, when judgment takes place, something like real love is unleashed. Someone might avoid seeing the doctor for years, fearful that he will uncover something diseased or deadly. But how much better it is for you, even when the doctor pronounces a harsh “judgment” on your physical condition!

And this is why judgment is the proper activity of a king. It is not the exercise of arbitrary power, but rather an exercise of real love.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.