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What did Jesus mean in saying that the Father was greater than he?

Full Question

I recently read a quote from the Gospel of John that disturbed me. It was John 14:28, where Jesus says “the Father is greater than I.” Doesn’t this mean Jesus is saying he is less than God and not equal to him?

Answer

Don’t be disturbed. If you read the whole of that chapter and understand the context, it will be clear what is being said. In John 14:7-10 Christ says,

"If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." Jesus replied, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?' Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works."

This identification of Christ with God is emphatic in this chapter and throughout John. John 1:1 explains, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In John 11:30 Christ says, “The Father and I are one.” In John 14:28 we are reaching a climax. Jesus is soon to be arrested and crucified. He is reassuring the apostles about himself. Yes, they are going to see him suffer in the flesh and die, but Jesus reminds them there is more to himself than just the human. He and the Father are one. His statement is a reassurance to them, and it should be to you as well.

 










14 comments

  1. Nina Reply

    Lovely and coMaor ting article. I lovel the Gospel of John.

  2. Nina Reply

    LoveMy and comforting Q&A

  3. Mugoya Arthur Reply

    In my opinion, Jesus Christ is perfect God and perfect Man. As man, The Man, he is subject to the law hence is circumcised, he had to be presented to the temple since he is the first born, as required by the law, he celebrates passover as required by the law and he calls God my God, who only is good (when a scholar addresses Him as ‘good teacher’), He even gets baptised. God the Father is thus greater than Jesus, the man, the Son of Man, the new Adam. It’s why He even cries out to the Father, he asks His help and strength. Ecce Homo…behold The Man. Jesus as perfect God is equal in all ways to the Father, He is not subject to the law, He is above it coz He makes it, As God, He is same in nature with the Father, He is one with the Father and to see Him is to see the Father. As God he is infinitely greater than man but as man, he
    He is a brother to man.

  4. marvin Reply

    Is common sense. Natural mas mataas ung father !!

    1. Manuel L. Quezon Reply

      i suggest you sharpen your brain a bit more..and probably pray for understanding…mejo may kabobohan ka …..

      1. al Reply

        no need for you to get nasty. It is the sign of one who has no answers.

  5. smcd Reply

    When he says this, Jesus is speaking of himself as incarnate human being, accoding to communicatio idiomatum, not as a divine person of the Holy Trinity

  6. ferminrabac Reply

    Marami na namang tinaan sa tanong na yan.

  7. roel Reply

    In that case how do we pray? I am praying directly to Father then in last word of my pray is in jesus name. It is correct?

  8. vincent cadag Reply

    Hindi maunawaan ng iba na ang nagsalita ay nature man of Jesus.kaya common sense lang gamitin ay masasabi na ang Father is greater than Jesus of flesh.but in nature as God they are equal because as Jesus said they are one.

  9. Agapitus Hausiku Reply

    It still doesn’t answer the question posted. It was a question about a specific biblical verse and the meaning to it. But the response diverted to other verses without addressing the specific verse in question.

  10. al Reply

    great answer, except you did not answer the question. The verse you quote could be taken in any manner of metaphorical ways, including Gnostic. The verse he quoted is pretty cut and dry and there are other verses that echo his question such as “Only the Father knows the time, not even the son knows.” It is questioning the nature of or even the existence of the trinity, You copped out . Go back and answer his question.

  11. Eltrion Reply

    As a Christian, I interpret that verse in harmony with Hebrew 2, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 55:11, etc, who describes the nature and mission of the Messiah.
    The Nature of Him is the Word of God, God, the Wisdom of God, which at any given time descended into flesh. So, He is the Creator who at any given times became like Creation.
    He is Equal to the Father, yet His mission required Him to be a servant. Required Him to make that statement: the Father is Greater than I.

  12. Marc Herlands Reply

    Jesus always said about Himself that He was not the Father. He always had a reverential point of view about God His Father. He always spoke about God His Father being greater than He. He was always deferential to God His Father. He always said that whatever God had told Him, He told His disciples. He always said that because God the Father was in Him He could do those miracles. He was one with the Father, but the Father to Him was always greater. That is why I consider Him to be an avatar, an incarnation of God, but ultimately God the Father is greater than His avatars.

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