“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).
Three times previously in this chapter, the Lord had affirmed His equality with God the Father. The first occurred in verse one: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” No man could utter these words, but the Lord Jesus is the God-man. He was and is on a full equality with God the Father.
And then, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (v.9). Seeing the Lord Jesus is seeing the Father.
Finally, Jesus said (v.23), “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The “we” in this verse places Jesus on an equality with His Father.
What, then, does our text mean? How can the Father both be “greater than” Jesus and also on an equality with Him? How are we to understand this truth?
At this time, Christ’s state of humiliation for us was one of utter humiliation. He would soon be ridiculed, nailed to a cross, left hanging on it—naked, and forsaken by God. His Father, therefore, was indeed “greater than” Jesus at that time because He, the Father, was in heaven’s glory. Jesus, God’s divine Son, by way of contrast, was on earth—soon to become glory.
After the resurrection, however, the Father gave to His Son the name “which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. . . . And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10,11). The “greater than” issue ended when Jesus returned to be with His Father in heaven’s glory. PGH