"My Father Is Greater Than I"
The Lord Jesus does not say, "My Father was greater than I," as though the three Persons of the holy Trinity are not one co-eternal, co-equal God. In his eternal Diety, the Son is in every way equal with and one with the Father and the Spirit.
And our Savior does not say, "My Father shall be greater than I," as though the future glory of Christ will be inferior to the glory of the Father. That cannot be the meaning of his words, because he tells us plainly that upon his return to heaven as our Mediator he resumed the glory which he had with the Father before the world was made (John 17:2, 5). The only difference is that he has now assumed that Divine glory as a Man, the God-man, our Mediator.
The disciples were distressed by Christ's declaration that he must depart and go unto the Father. And here he gently corrects their selfishness of feeling. They should have rejoiced. But they were distressed. Their reluctance to let him go and hesitancy to see him suffer the death of the cross did not reveal a lack of faith in the atonement accomplished by his death, but a weakness of faith. It did not arise from a lack of love, but a weakness of love, which the Lord is very tenderly correcting.
Dean Bagot gave the following paraphrase, which accurately reflects the meaning of our Lord's words: "If ye really loved me on my own account - if the regard and affection you profess to entertain were purely disinterested in its nature - so far from evincing sorrow at the prospect of my departure, you would rejoice that I leave this state of temporary degradation; that I shall cease to be the Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief; that I shall resume that original and essential glory which I enjoyed with the Father from eternity. As long as I continue in my present state of humiliation, my Father is greater in glory than I; but when the days of my flesh shall terminate, I shall then be glorified with the Father's ownself, with the glory which I had with him before the world was created."