John 5:21 – The Bible in the Old Testament states that only God can raise someone from the dead; yet, Jesus claims that He also can do the same!

John 5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:19  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
John 5:20  For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
John 5:21  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

In John 5:21 Jesus’ deity claim involves the power to resurrect the dead and though it’s different from the claim of omnipotence in verse 19, the power of resurrection is a subset of omnipotence. Earlier, Christ stated that He could do all things that God does; now here in verse 21 He mentions a specific act that God does then He claims to have the power to do the same. What makes this claim all the more audacious is the fact that the Old Testament specifically states that only God can raise someone from the dead. In Deuteronomy 32:39 we read:

See now that I [God], even I, am he, and there is no god beside me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there ANY that can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)

In Deuteronomy 32:39, as if the exclusivity of the subject’s “I, even I” were not enough, the word “neither” (which is used to indicate that the next statement is similarly negative) in the last phrase of the verse assures us that, not only isn’t there anyone that can deliver out of God’s hand, there also isn’t ANY that can cause a person to die or be made alive except for God.

For John 5:21, Dr. Bob Utley states:

In the Old Testament YHWH [God] is the only one who can give life. The fact that Jesus can raise the dead is equivalent to a statement of equality with YHWH.

In addition, Adame Clarke’s commentary states that in verse 21:

Jesus “points out his sovereign power and independence; he gives life according to his own will – not being obliged to supplicate for the power by which it was done, as the prophets did; his own will being absolute and sufficient in every case.”

In conclusion, when Jesus claims to have resurrection power, He is claiming to be God!

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