on John 5 :19
The Son can do nothing of himself - Because of his inseparable union with the Father: nor can the Father do any thing of himself, because of his infinite unity with the Son.
What things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son - God does nothing but what Christ does. What God does is the work of God, and proper to no creature - Jesus does whatsoever God does, and therefore is no created being. The Son can do nothing but what he sees the Father do: now, any intelligent creature may do what God cannot do: he may err - he may sin. If Jesus can do nothing but what God does, then he is no creature - he can neither sin nor err, nor act imperfectly. The conclusion from our Lord's argument is: If I have broken the Sabbath, so has God also; for I can do nothing but what I see him doing. He is ever governing and preserving; I am ever employed in saving.
on John 5 :19
The Son can do nothing of himself - Jesus, having stated the extent of his authority, proceeds here to show its "source and nature," and to prove to them that what he had said was true. The first explanation which he gives is in these words: "The Son" - whom he had just impliedly affirmed to be equal with God - did nothing "of himself;" that is, nothing without the appointment of the Father; nothing contrary to the Father, as he immediately explains it. When it is said that he can "do nothing" of himself, it is meant that such is the union subsisting between the Father and the Son that he can do nothing "independently" or separate from the Father. Such is the nature of this union that he can do nothing which has not the concurrence of the Father, and which he does not command. In all things he must, from the necessity of his nature, act in accordance with the nature and will of God. Such is the intimacy of the union, that the fact that "he" does anything is proof that it is by the concurring agency of God. There is no separate action - no separate existence; but, alike in being and in action, there is the most perfect oneness between him and the Father. Compare John 10:30; John 17:21.
What he seeth the Father do - In the works of creation and providence, in making laws, and in the government of the universe. There is a special force in the word "seeth" here. No person can see God acting in his works; but the word here implies that the Son sees him act, as we see our fellow-men act, and that he has a knowledge of him, therefore, which no mere mortal could possess.
What things soever - In the works of creation and of providence, and in the government of the worlds. The word is without limit - all that the Father does the Son likewise does. This is as high an assertion as possible of his being "equal" with God. If one does "all" that another does or can do, then there must be equality. If the Son does all that the Father does, then, like him, he must be almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, and infinite in every perfection; or, in other words, he must be God. If he had "this" power, then he had authority, also, to do on the Sabbath day what God did.
on John 5 :19
5:19 The Son can do nothing of himself - This is not his imperfection, but his glory, resulting from his eternal, intimate, indissoluble unity with the Father. Hence it is absolutely impossible, that the Son should judge, will, testify, or teach any thing without the Father, John 5:30, and c; John 6:38; John 7:16; or that he should be known or believed on, separately from the Father. And he here defends his doing good every day, without intermission, by the example of his Father, from which he cannot depart: these doth the Son likewise - All these, and only these; seeing he and the Father are one.