You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)
Jesus declared His divinity and His union with the Father so clearly that He was accused of blasphemy more than once. In this verse, He said the Father was greater than He. How does this statement not contradict His other claims?
A key to understand this statement is given in Philippians 2:6-8, where Paul says that Jesus didn’t think it robbery to be equal with God but humbled Himself, taking on the form of a servant, which refers to His humanity. Jesus was equal to God in His divine nature, but He made Himself inferior to the Father in regard to His humanity. Jesus didn’t lose any of His deity when He became a man, but He was clothed in flesh and had to submit to its limitations. In this sense, the Father was greater than Jesus.
Jesus was the pre-existent God who chose to become a man so he could redeem us by His own blood sacrifice. When He became a man, He was still 100 percent God in His spirit, but His physical body was 100 percent human. His body was sinless, but it was still flesh and subject to the natural things we all experience. The physical Jesus had to grow in wisdom and in stature just like we do in the natural sense.
When Jesus was born, His physical mind did not know all things. He had to be taught how to talk, walk, eat, and so forth. He had to learn that He was God in the flesh and accept that by faith. His physical mind grew in awareness of who He was by faith—the same way we do when we believe who we are in Him.
Jesus’ mental comprehension of His deity was something He learned and accepted by faith. He had to become aware of His true identity through revelation and knowledge. Today, you must do the same. Isn’t it nice to know that you serve a Lord who has gone through everything you are going through?