“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.” (John 5:30)

With this statement, Jesus is clearly indicating that he is not the Supreme Being. He is clearly indicating that he is has a loving relationship with God and is reliant upon God. Furthermore, Jesus is clarifying that he is God's messenger - illustrated in the phrase, "Him who sent me”.

Does the Supreme Being need anyone else to do things? No. God is self-sufficient. God can do anything He wants without anyone's help.

Jesus, on the other hand, is illustrating clearly that he is dependent upon God. A person who submits that they rely upon God is someone who has given their life to the Supreme Being.

Furthermore, because Jesus seeks not to please himself, but rather seeks to please God ("I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me"), Jesus is describing himself as God's loving servant.

A loving servant is distinct from a slave: A slave is forced to work for the pleasure of his master, but a loving servant chooses out of free will to please the one he loves. Jesus' entire life and teachings were geared towards pleasing God. This is because Jesus loves the Supreme Being.

A loving relationship requires two distinct individuals. God is a distinct individual. Jesus is distinct from God. This is why Jesus says, "By myself I can do nothing." There are two distinct individuals, and one person (Jesus) is dependent upon, and loves another Person (the Supreme Being).

Each of us has the free will to choose to love the Supreme Being or not. This, however, does not mean that we are in control. We have choice, but not control. Those who feel that they are self-sufficient and in control are in illusion. They believe that they are independent, but actually, they too, are subject to the control of the physical world. If we decide not to submit to God's will, then we are simply submitting ourselves to the control of the physical world.

The physical world controls our lives in so many ways. None of us can rule the physical world. Even those who have achieved positions of great power, such as kings and presidents, cannot control the physical world. They cannot control the weather. They cannot control disease, suffering and so many other events that take place in the physical world. They may think they are in control, and certainly, they might achieve minimal authority over certain affairs, but they are not in real control. That have to follow the rules of the physical world.

One of the central components of the physical world is time. No one, even those who have gained the power and authority over large populations, such as Alexander the Great or Constantine, could control time.

This is why all the great kings, presidents and other leaders are dead now. They had no control over time. They had no control over when their physical body would die. They might have delayed it a bit with medical care, but in the end, they had no control over time.

As for the rest of us, we also have to follow all the rules of the physical world, which include the rules of government, banking, social expectations, the workplace, disease, money, and of course, time. We are controlled by the forces of the physical world, whether seemingly put there by man or nature, we are dominated. We are controlled. If we are not one of God's servants, we are servants of the physical world.

As for those who feel that they are free to enjoy life as they wish, even the so-called enjoyment of the physical world comes with control. When we begin to feel some physical pleasure, we become attached to that pleasure, and soon become addicted. For this reason, there are so many addictions: We can become addicted to any and all the pleasures of the physical world, including sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating or even shopping. Practically anything that offers a glimpse of pleasure can become addictive. Why? Because we seek pleasure: We are constantly seeking pleasure.

And once we become addicted to a particular type of pleasure, it begins to control us.

Or we might decide to become servants of God. This is our choice. We have to choose one or the other, because if we choose to become one of God's servants, we have to put Him first. We have to submit to Him, and seek our pleasure in His loving service.

Jesus showed us how to do this with both his teachings and his life. While he spoke with authority as God's representative, he never claimed that authority: Jesus always gave that authority to God, and he was constantly seeking to please God. This is why Jesus is saying above that "I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.”

What Jesus is saying is that pleasing God gave Jesus more pleasure than pleasing himself. This is called love.


This is the very essence and nature of love. When we truly love someone, we receive our pleasure by pleasing the person we love. Jesus showed that by his life.

And ironically, those who live for their own selfish pleasure are constantly miserable. In other words, we gain no real pleasure by seeking our own pleasure.

We also cannot simply go about our pleasure-loving ways, and then go to church on Sundays and expect that we can just wipe all the consequences of our selfish ways on to Jesus so that we can go back and keep doing them. In order to receive Jesus' saving grace, we must decide to change. While complete change is a gradual process - and comes only with God's help - we can decide we want to change at any time.

In other words, we can decide at any time that we want to live for God rather than living for ourselves. This is what Jesus came to teach us, and also what his ultimate sacrifice (of giving his life in the service of God) was intended to teach us.

In the statement above, Jesus is giving credit for what has been translated to "judgment" to God. As mentioned before, this translation to "judge" and "judgment" is a mistranslation. The Greek words being translated to "judge" and "judgment" here are κρίνω and κρίσις. Using the Greek lexicon:

κρίνω means to 1) to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose

κρίσις  means to 1) a separating, sundering, separation

So Jesus is not talking about God giving him the ability to judge others, as God judges us. Jesus is talking about God giving him the ability to select those to whom he teaches and gives his knowledge to. This ability to select those to whom to teach was granted by God to Jesus because of their loving relationship. Because Jesus was God's confidential loving servant, God trusted Jesus to select those to whom he wanted to teach the confidential knowledge. This is why Jesus selected certain disciples and students, who were able to convene with him privately while he explained some of his parables and so on.

Thus, rather than trying to fictionalize that Jesus is God, we must see and portray Jesus accurately. Jesus clarifies with this statement that he is God's confidential loving servant. We must worship Jesus in this way, and decide for ourselves, whether we, too, want to heed Jesus' primary instruction:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)   


(See also the Gospels of Jesus for the Book of John - translated from the original Greek texts without sectarian influence.)