In this part of my response to Muhammadan Tim Winter (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/refuting-a-muslim-pseudo-scholar-pt-5/), I address his misuse of John 5:19. Winter erroneously assumes that Jesus’ statement that he cannot do a single thing on his own initiative is a clear indication that he is nothing more than a human messenger of God.
Here is the immediate context of that particular verse:
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za′tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your pallet, and walk’. And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, ‘It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.’ But he answered them, ‘The man who healed me said to me, “Take up your pallet, and walk.”’ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take up your pallet, and walk”?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.’ The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘MY Father is working still, and I am working.’ This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:2-18
Christ heals a paralytic on the Sabbath, to the ire of the Jewish religious establishment. Jesus justifies what he did by stating that his Father doesn’t cease from his activities on the sabbath, but continues to work on this day. And being God’s Son he too doesn’t refrain from performing his activities on the sabbath, but faithfully carries out the work that the Father sent him to do.
The Jews correctly reasoned that Jesus was making himself equal with God since God alone is exempt from sabbath restrictions, and yet Christ claims that he is as well.
What the Lord went on to say only reinforced his claim of essential coequality with God:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for WHATEVER he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will… Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears MY WORD and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear HIS [the Son’s] VOICE and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.’” John 5:19-30
Here Christ didn’t simply say he could do nothing of himself. Rather his point is that he could only do whatever the Father does, and can do all that the Father does in the same way that the Father does them. A more explicit claim to Deity can hardly be found!
No creature can say that s/he can only do what God does since creatures do all sorts of things that God does not and will never do. Moreover, a creature is incapable of doing whatever God does since God alone is Almighty whereas creation is not.
And yet Jesus says he can only do what his Father does such as judging all mankind, giving life to whomever he chooses, and raising the dead both spiritually and physically by the power of his sovereign voice. Christ even states that he shall personally resurrect the dead from their graves at the appointed hour!
This isn’t the only time where Jesus claims to be the One who personally raises the dead at the last day:
“‘All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’ … So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’” John 6:37-40, 53-54
As if this weren’t remarkable enough, Jesus identifies himself as the Resurrection and the Life,
“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, “I AM THE RESURECTION AND THE LIFE. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’” John 11:23-27
As well as the Truth:
“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’” John 14:1-6
Suffice it say Christ has just described himself in the manner that Islamic theology describes God.
For example, it is Allah who is the truth that gives life, and who will raise the dead from their graves at the last hour:
That is because God — He is the Truth, and brings the dead to life, and is powerful over everything, and because the Hour is coming, no doubt of it, and God shall raise up whosoever is within the tombs. S. 22:6-7 Arberry
In fact, not only is Allah called the truth, but he is also said to be the Resurrection and the Life:
Al-Haqq: The Truly Real
The Truth, the Real, the Really-existing, He whose existence and divinity are true, the One who creates according to the requirements of wisdom, justice, right, rightness, the Necessarily-existing by His own Essence, He whose existence is undeniable. Every reality exists from His essence and nothing has any intrinsic reality except Him.
Al-Haqq is one of the Ninety-Nine Names…
Al-Muhyî, Al-Mumît: The One Who Gives Life, The One who Makes Die
The Life-Giver or Quickener who makes something alive, to be a living thing; He quickens him or endues him with life or revives him. He revives the earth with rain and endues with intelligence. Al-Mumit is the One who causes to die.
Al-Muhyi and Al-Mumit are two of the Ninety-Nine Names…
Al-Bâ’ith: The Raiser
The Raiser, Resurrector. To re-create, like Mu’id; revive; also to send. The One who Quickens mankind after death. To cause something to be.
Al-Ba’ith is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Aisha Bewley, Divine Names)
Christ further claims to be the Shepherd who gives everlasting life to the flock that is within his care, and who along with the Father ensures that they shall never perish:
“‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I said, you are gods”? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, ‘I am the Son of God”?’” John 10:27-36
The reason the Jews again thought that Jesus, though being a man, was making himself out to be God by claiming to be God’s unique Son, is because Christ described himself in the language which the Hebrew Bible reserves for God alone:
“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,” Psalm 95:6-8
It is Yahweh who gives life with no one being able to deliver out of his hand. Yahweh is also the Shepherd whose voice the flock within in his hand of protection is to obey. And yet Jesus applies all of these divine functions and characteristics to himself!
The foregoing explains why the Jews tried to get Christ killed for claiming to be the Son of God:
“The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.’” John 19:7
They perceived that Jesus wasn’t claiming to be a son of God in the sense of a righteous servant who sought to maintain covenant faithfulness with the God of Israel. Rather, they correctly understood that Christ was making himself ought to be God’s Son in the sense of being equal with God in essence, power, glory, majesty, and honor, and was, therefore, claiming to be the God-Man.
Where these Jews were mistaken was in their assumption that Jesus was blaspheming for making such a claim, since they erroneously thought (much like Muhammadans such as Tim Winter still do) that Christ was nothing more than a flesh and blood human being.
John brings all these points together when one of Jesus’ disciples finally sees the risen Lord in his physical body that still bore the marks of the crucifixion:
“Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’ Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou)!’ Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The Purpose of This Book Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:24-31
Thomas worships Jesus in the exact same way the Psalmist worships Yahweh Almighty:
“Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord (elohay wadonay)!” Psalm 35:23
“Awake, O Lord, and attend to my judgment, [even] to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou).” Psalm 34:23 LXX
Since the only God that a monotheistic Jew can ever worship is Yahweh, Jesus must, therefore, be Yahweh Almighty in the flesh in order for him to accept Thomas’ confession. Otherwise, both Christ and Thomas would be guilty of idolatry and blasphemy.
Thomas’ worship of the risen Lord was a fulfillment of what Christ had previously said in one of his discussions with the Jews. Jesus stated that, as God’s unique beloved Son, he not only judges everyone but he does so for the express purpose of getting mankind to realize that they are to honor him in the exact same way that they are to honor God the Father:
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:22-23
This is precisely what Thomas did when he worshiped the resurrected and glorified Christ as his Lord and God.
After all, as God’s unique Son Jesus is co-equal with the Father in essence, glory, majesty, and honor, and therefore worthy to receive the worship that the Father receives for being the only true God.
What makes this all the more astonishing is that God himself glorifies his Son in the same way that the Son glorifies him!
“When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.’” John 13:31-32
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; GLORIFY YOUR SON that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, GLORIFY ME IN YOUR OWN PRESENCE with the glory that I had with you BEFORE THE WORLD EXISTED… Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.’” John 17:1-5, 24
Remarkably Jesus states that the only true God glorifies him in the same way that he, his unique Son, glorifies God, something that no mere creature could dare say.
Christ further attests that he has been given rule over all flesh and has been appointed to grant everlasting life to all the beings that the Father has entrusted to his care. And since the false prophet Muhammad and all Muslims are flesh, this means that Jesus rules over all of them including Tim Winter.
As if this weren’t astonishing enough, Christ then goes on to claim to have personally existed alongside the Father in the same glory, and that he has been the personal object of the Father’s love, from before the creation of the world!
And ye the Hebrew Bible is clear that there is no heavenly being that shares in God’s glory. On the contrary, God’s heavenly host ascribe glory to God, they do not possess it!
“Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2
“Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and (M)come into his courts! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.’ Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.” Psalm 96:7-13
In light of the foregoing, I challenge Winter and any other Muhammadan to cite a single example of any mere human prophet making such assertions.
So much for Murad’s shameless manhandling of John 5:19.
There’s more to come in the next segment.
How Can Jesus be God when He denies being All-Powerful? (https://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/q_can_do_nothing.htm)