John 14:28

Could someone explain this verse to me?

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)

There was one thread on this but it had few replies. I agreed with the user who said

"The Father alone possess Divine Paternity and has the distinction of being entirely without origin. While the Jesus and the Holy Spirit are begotten and proceed from the Father.

That doesn’t mean that any of the Divine persons exceeds the others in greatness or glory in the Trinity. Because they are the eternal, it’s more of a relational hierarchy"

Let your interpretation of this verse be known.


It can be interpreted in various ways.

I tend to interpret in the context of relational subordinationism. The Father is relationally greater than the Son in the sense that he is the Father, and the Son is eternally generated from the Father, and could not be the Son without the Father. It is true that the Father is God as he is, the head person of the Trinity, neither begotten nor proceeded. Of course, in his ontological reality, the Son is no different from the Father in the sense of power; he is equal in omnipotence, omnipresence, omnisciences , and glory with the Father, sharing the same essence as the Father, and all of this comes to him because of the Father.

This may also be interpreted in the context of the mystery of the hypostatic union, and Jesus could mean this in part of his human nature, of which the Father surely is greater than him in power. Indeed, the author of Hebrews admits, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” - Hebrews 2:9

The Father created the Son.
Also, a good son would always put his father first.

Catechism (The Father and the Son revealed by the Spirit)

248 At the outset the Eastern tradition expresses the Father’s character as first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he “who proceeds from the Father”, it affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son.77 The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque). It says this, “legitimately and with good reason”,78 for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as “the principle without principle”,79 is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds.80 This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.

Keeping in mind the Perichoresis (Modern Catholic Dictionary)

The penetration and indwelling of the three divine persons reciprocally in one another. In the Greek conception of the Trinity there is an emphasis on the mutual penetration of the three persons, thus bringing out the unity of the divine essence. In the Latin idea called circumincession the stress is more on the internal processions of the three divine persons. In both traditions, however, the fundamental basis of the Trinitarian perichoresis is the one essence of the three persons in God.

The term is also applied to the close union of the two natures in Christ. Although the power that unites the two natures proceeds exclusively from Christ’s divinity, the result is a most intimate coalescence. The Godhead, which itself is impenetrable, penetrates the humanity, which is thereby deified without ceasing to be perfectly human.

The regional understanding of the time of Jesus recognized that a man who was sent to carry a message of royal significance is subordinate from where he came. The apparent subordination was a cultural expression of apostolic mode.

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)

Haydock’s Commentary

Ver. 28. The Father is greater than I.[3] According to the common exposition, Christ here speaks of himself, as made man, which interpretation is drawn from the circumstances of the text, Christ being at that time, going to suffer, and die, and shortly after to rise again, and ascend into heaven, all which agree with him, as man, and according to his human nature. But the Arians can take no advantage from these words, (though with divers of the ancient Fathers, we should allow them to be spoken of Christ, as the Son of God: ) the Father may be said in some manner to be greater than the Son, if we consider the order of the divine processions, that is, that the Father is the first person, and proceeds from no other; whereas the Son proceeds from the Father. If any one, says St. Chrysostom, will contend, that the Father is greater, inasmuch as he is the cause, from which the Son proceedeth, we will bear with him, and this way of speaking: provided he grant that the Son is not of a different substance, or nature. St. Athanasius allows the same, and takes notice, that though the Father is said to be greater, yet he is not said to be better, nor more excellent, than the Son; because they are one and the same in substance, nature, and other perfections. (Witham) — The enemies of the divinity of Christ here triumph, and think they have the confession of Christ himself, that he is less than the Father. But if they would distinguish the two natures of Christ, their arguments would all fall to the ground. Jesus Christ, as man, and a creature, is inferior to his Father, the Creator; but, as God, he is, in every respect, equal to him. (St. Basil, St. Augustine, &c.) — Others, likewise, answer it thus: Following the confused opinion of the world, and even of the apostles themselves, who as yet only considered Christ as a prophet, and as a man, eminent in virtue and sanctity, he was less than the Father. (St. Chrysostom; Leont.; Theophylactus; Euthymius) — And likewise the title of Father, (as we generally use the word) is greater, and much more honourable, than that of Son; and in this respect, Christ is inferior to his Father. (St. Athanasius; St. Hilary; St. Epiphanius; St. Gregory of Nazianzus; and St. Cyril) —But this appellation, though really true, does not destroy the equality of the persons, because Christ has declared, in numerous other places, that he is equal to the Father; that he is in the Father; and that he and the Father are one. The apostles ought to have rejoiced that Christ was going to the Father, who was superior to him, considering him in his human nature; because, then, would the Son shew forth his honour and glory to be equal to the Father’s, in heaven. This would have been a mark of a pure, solid, and disinterested love, which ought to have inspired the apostles, if they truly loved their divine Master.

The disciples should rejoice to see human nature divinized and seated at the right hand of the Father, that the much greater Father should deem to associate Himself in such a way with the much lesser human nature.

Actually, the Father did not create the Son. The Creed says He was “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father”. Something created has a beginning in time, but Jesus is eternally the Son, uncreated. He is the Word of God, and also is God and always was, and is of the same substance as the Father.

A Mystery, to be sure. But it’s all in the Nicene Creed we say at Mass.

That definitely is a mystery.

Dear freind in Christ,

I [me personally here] don’t think that is the precise understanding and teaching of the RCC…

Keep in mind that for God time in nonexistent; everything is present time.

The Creed spells out what you share for humanities benefit of understanding; not necessarily the actual reality [please note I dd not say “truth”].

“I and the Father are one.”
[John 10:30]… further the RCC teaches that::

CCC 253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.” In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.”

God Bless you


We always need to read Scripture in context, this should help clarify:
John 14:25-31
“These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things,[a] and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence.

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