Jesus said, “my Father is greater than I.” What does this verse mean?


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“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

Some have a hard time understanding the above verse. But any inferiority the statement in John 14:28 seems to assign to Christ should be understood with reference to His incarnation, for after the crucifixion God highly exalted Him, and gave Him a name that is above every name. The apostle Paul declared, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

Yet, Jesus had earthly limitations (Mark 13:32). He was subject to such things as hunger, thirst, growth (both physical and mental), pain, disease, and temptation but without sin (Hebrews 4:15; Luke 2:52). Therefore, because of His human nature and its limitations, the Father was greater than Him.

With reference to His pre-incarnation state, the Scriptures declare that Christ “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6; John 1:1–3; 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28). But, He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:9; John 1). And, even in His incarnation Jesus declared that He was one with the Father (John 10:30).

Unlike Adam and Eve, who made an attempt to seize equality with God (Genesis 3:5), Jesus, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47) was “made in the likeness of men.” He humbled Himself even unto death – the death of the cross. When Jesus affirmed, “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), He was not disclaiming His divine nature; rather, He was asserting that He had subjected Himself voluntarily to the Father’s will to be incarnated, suffer and die to redeem the fallen race. In that sense, the Father was greater than Himself.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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