CAN ONE VERSE FULLY DESCRIBE CHRIST?
Is it safe to build your theology on one verse or to decide the Person of Christ based on one statement? What if in that verse Jesus says:
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28
There are differences in opinions about what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that “the Father is greater than I.” Did Jesus mean in rank, or essence? Below are some things Jesus said about ‘greatness.’
WHO WAS GREATEST IN JESUS’ EYES
The greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11
“But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater (megas), one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” – Luke 22:26-27
Jesus drove this lesson home to His disciples. He sat the example by serving them and even washing their feet.
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. – John 13:14-15
Matthew 20:26 It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
Matthew 23:10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Christ.
Mark 9:35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Mark 10:43 But it shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…
WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?
Jesus’ Disciples and we, His followers, are left to discern what Christ was then saying about the Father being greater. He has told us He and the Father are One. They share the glory of God, and what honors Christ, honors the Father. We know that anything we ask the Father must be asked in the Son’s name and that when we do this, the Father will grant our request. John said that Jesus is the Living Word become flesh and the Word is God. Peter said He has been given the Name above all names. So we are left to decide why Jesus said, “…the Father is greater than I.”
COULD JESUS HAVE MEANT IN SERVANT-HOOD?
Perhaps in heaven’s realm, and with those who understand a father’s love, this is a reality that is easily understood; that Jesus saw the Father as greater for the sacrificial love He bore? This isn’t a doctrinal statement, but rather a question…
We know the great love of One who lay down His life for His friends. The Bible says, “Greater love has no man…” Consider the great love to allow the perfect Son to leave heaven and suffer God’s wrath. Stuart Townsend, who wrote, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” , realized the pain the Father must have felt. Not only did He see His only Begotten Son leave Heaven’s glory, He poured out His wrath upon the Son as Jesus became sin in our place.
We can only bow in awe of a God who would so love us that He would give His only Begotten Son to die for our sins – the Righteous for the unrighteous.