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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Why Did Jesus Say My Father Is Greater than I?

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Don Stewart

Jesus made the following statement.

You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I (John 14:28).

This statement has been thought to mean that Jesus is something less than God the Father. However this is not what Jesus said. He was not comparing his nature with that of God the Father. Rather he was comparing their positions.

He Was Lesser In Position When He Came To Earth

When Jesus came to earth he came in the form of a servant. This is also known as His humiliation. The Apostle Paul wrote.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

Jesus Has Now Been Exalted

Jesus has now been exalted. Continuing his thought in Philippians, Paul wrote.

For this reason also, God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).


The fact that Jesus said, "My Father is greater than I" has led some to conclude that he was lesser in nature than God the Father. However this statement refers to Jesus' state of humiliation that he took when he became a human being. It does not to have reference to his basic nature.

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