John 5:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 5:21, NIV: "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it."

John 5:21, ESV: "For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will."

John 5:21, KJV: "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."

John 5:21, NASB: "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes."

John 5:21, NLT: "For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants."

John 5:21, CSB: "And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to whom he wants."

What does John 5:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Once again, Jesus makes a claim to power that is reserved only for God. The Old Testament clearly recognized that the power over life and death belonged solely to God (2 Kings 5:6–8). For Jesus to claim that He can give life, just as the Father gives life, means Jesus is stating His own divinity.

This conversation is the result of a single incident, which created two major controversies with local religious authorities. In John 5:1–15, Jesus heals a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. Rather than being amazed at the miracle, the Pharisees were upset that Jesus was breaking their Sabbath traditions. In response, Jesus not only claims that what He is doing is right, He claims to be equal to God.

The end of this verse also echoes back to the circumstances where Jesus healed the long-disabled man. According to John 5:3, there was "a multitude" of people with disabilities at the Pool of Bethesda. And, the man Jesus healed didn't seem all that interested in either Jesus or His power (John 5:6–7, 14). Jesus' choice to heal this man is an example of God's divine sovereignty. In other words, God has the right to choose when He will or will not intervene. This includes the ability to "raise" both the spiritually and physically dead (John 5:24, 29).

Jesus has claimed equality to God in works (John 5:19), love (John 5:20), and will soon claim to be equal to God in judgment (John 5:22) and honor (John 5:23).