"My Father Is Greater Than I"
Our Master plainly declared, My Father is greater than I. Heretics throughout the ages of Christianity have jumped on those words like a duck on a June bug, triumphantly declaring it to be a proof that Jesus Christ is not God. Their triumph is only in their empty heads and dead hearts.
Read the statement here made by the Lord Jesus Christ. -- My Father is greater than I. He 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 deity, the Son is in every way equal with and one with the Father and the Spirit.
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.
Our blessed Savior said, My Father is greater than I. That is to say, At this present time, in my present circumstances, because I came here to redeem and save you by the sacrifice of myself upon the cursed tree as your sin-atoning Substitute, My Father is greater than I.
This statement, My Father is greater than I, like all others, must be understood in its context. 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.
The Lord Jesus was, essentially saying to his disciples, -- "If you really love me, -- if the regard and affection you profess to have for me is true, if it is purely disinterested in its nature, so far from causing you sorrow at the prospect of my departure, you would rejoice that I leave this state of temporary degradation. -- You would rejoice that I shall soon cease to be the Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief. You would be delighted that I shall soon resume that original and essential glory which I enjoyed with my Father from eternity. As long as I continue in my present state of humiliation, my Father is greater in glory than I am; but when the days of my humiliation are over, I shall then be glorified with the glory of my Father, with the glory which I had with him before the world was created."