30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Verse 30 finishes the argument from verse 19 and transitions to the last section of the discourse (vv. 31-47). Jesus shifts to the first person “I” in the remainder section of chapter five.
30 I can of Myself do nothing.
Jesus can do nothing apart from the Father. He does not act on His own initiative. He limited Himself to the Father’s will.
Some ask why Jesus could do nothing of Himself, “Is not Jesus God? How can God limit Himself?” We must distinguish between the deity and humanity of Christ. Jesus made this statement from the viewpoint of His humanity.
When the Son stepped foot in a human body He set aside the voluntary use of His incommunicable attributes as God. He limited His divine attributes so that He could function truly as a human being. The Son did the Father’s will as a genuine man. Jesus was unique in that He was truly human but also undiminished deity simultaneously. Jesus has no direction peculiar to Himself. We cannot judge the deity of Christ by His humanity.
The Father and Son’s relationship was so united that Jesus did not act by Himself. He never did anything on His own authority. This is no argument against the deity of Christ for Christ never violated consistency with the Father in His humanity.
As I hear, I judge;
Jesus’ judgment always rests on what He hears from the Father. He never deviates from the will of God. Judging here is not making legal decisions but making proper decisions about what to do and say. Jesus’ judgment is based on perfect knowledge of God’s will.
Jesus here repudiated the thought that He did anything independent of the Father’s will. These two persons of the Trinity operate as one.
and My judgment is righteous [just],
Because Jesus listens to the Father, He judges in a righteous or just way. He always acts in harmony with the Father.
because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Jesus submitted His claim to Messiahship to be examined by those who listen to Him. He was open to scrutiny. “Since I am just and I judge righteously, see if you can find any contradiction in that.” Jesus denied that He was in ministry for human praise. He was always in harmony with the Father’s will.
Selflessness is a characteristic of Christianity.
Jesus’ judgment was perfectly just because He depended on the Word and will of the Father. He was in perfect harmony with the Father. He allowed nothing to deter Him from the will of God. His judgment was not influenced by personal interest or selfishness.
Jesus always judged fairly. That is very difficult for us because our judgments are distorted by self-interest. We might judge because we have been personally injured. We can distort judgment by envy. We might bend truth by ignorance. Jesus did not carry these distortions in His humanity.