"I tell you the truth, the son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his father doing, because whatever the father does the son also does.” (John 5:19)

Here Jesus is using a metaphor to describe the relationship that exists between himself and the Supreme Being.

But after the use of the metaphor - verses 5:20 and beyond, Jesus is using it metaphorically, this translation works. But when used to describe Jesus' relationship with God, there is a more appropriate translation. See next verse (John 5:20) for this.

This point begins to clarify the issue that had been brought up by those wanting to criticize Jesus, saying that Jesus was putting himself equal to God (John 5:17). Jesus clarified that because he (and any of God's loving servants) is dedicated and dependent upon God, the actions of God's loving servants simply reflect God's will.

This occurs in any loving relationship. A person who loves another will do the will of and act on behalf of the one they love. This is the essence of Jesus' life, and the essence of Jesus' relationship with God.

(The New International Version was used in the above Biblical quotes. Also consider the Gospels of Jesus for the Gospel of John Chapter Five - translated from the original Greek texts without ecclesiastical sectarian influence.)