John 14.28-29 cont.
28 You have heard that I told you: “I am going, and I am coming back to you. If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than Me.
29 And now I have told before it happens, so then when it should happen you might believe.
Jesus told the disciples that the Father is greater than He is. Much has been said about this statement, because it might seem as though Jesus was denying His oneness and equality with the Father.
There are those who use these words of Jesus to support their view that Jesus is not divine. Though He was special, even a prophet, the greatest teacher the world has ever seen, and the worker of numerous miraculous signs, yet these words of Jesus appear to deny His being divine.
However, to accept this view point is to ignore the context in which Jesus spoke them, and it is to ignore others words of Jesus, and the rest of the New Testament.
Jesus had already told the disciples that He and the Father are One (John 10.30).
Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage – Philippians 2.6 (NIV).
In this verse Paul states that Jesus is equal with God.
The writer to the Hebrews makes a similar statement:
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven – Hebrews 1.3 (NIV).
Jesus and the Father are One, so how are we to understand these words of Jesus:
“the Father is greater than Me”?
It is possible that Jesus could have been referring to His present position of being in the world in human form, and therefore, He had limited Himself to His humanity. – the word became flesh and lived amongst us – John 1.14.
It is also likely that Jesus may have been referring to the fact that He is subordinate to the Father. He had already stated this earlier in His ministry when He said:
“In all sincerity I tell you that the Son is able to do nothing by Himself, only the things He should see the Father doing; for whatever things He does, the Son likewise also does” – John 5.19.
There is an order and equality in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This order and equality is present amongst us, which is seen in:
But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God – 1 Corinthians 11.3 (NLT).
This is not inferiority or superiority, but a demonstration of our Father’s order.