John 14:28—Did Jesus think of Himself as less than God?

Problem: Orthodox Christianity confesses Jesus is both fully man and fully God. Yet Jesus said in John 14:28, “My Father is greater than I.” How can the Father be greater if Jesus is equal to God?

Solution: The Father is greater than the Son by office, but not by nature, since both are God (see John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30). Just as an earthly father is equally human with, but holds a higher office than, his son, even so the Father and the Son in the Trinity are equal in essence, but different in function. In like manner, we speak of the president of our country as being a greater man, not by virtue of his character, but by virtue of his position. Therefore, Jesus cannot ever be said to say that He considered Himself anything less than God by nature. The following summary helps to crystalize the differences:

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.