Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

Watchtower “Proof Texts” (2) John 14:28 My Father is greater…………….by John Stickland

You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

This is another verse that the Watchtower and others denying the divinity of Christ select from the body of Scriptures as a whole to support their teaching.

What actually did Jesus mean by saying his Father was greater than Himself? To arrive at a correct understanding we need to compare this verse with other Scriptures speaking of the person of Jesus to receive further light.

Firstly we need to note that Jesus does not say Jehovah is better than I. The word used here in John 14:28 is “meizon”, greater, and is a is a term relative to positionBetter is relative to nature.
By position, the Father is greater than the Son; by nature THEY ARE BOTH ONE.
This can be seen by comparing the verse with Heb. 1.4.   In John 14.28, if the meaning of the verse had been intended to be better by nature then the word “kreitton” would have been used, as in Heb. 1.4, which describes Jesus as being better than the angels.

Why is the Father spoken of as greater in position here.
Light is thrown upon this in Phil. 2 verses 6 to 8.
In order to take our place and make a full and complete atonement for our sin, Jesus had to completely identify with us by becoming fully human; in the process divesting Himself totally of His Divine glory and power and taking upon Himself the frailty of our human nature, to take the place that we deserved upon the cross.

The steps down that Jesus took are shown in Phillipians 2 from verse 7.
He made Himself of no reputation, took the form of a slave and the likeness and appearance of a men, humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death. Even the death of the cross.
This then is the position upon earth that it was necessary for Jesus to willingly take in order to die as our Saviour.

If as the Son of Man Jesus Christ was truly man by nature …. Then, as the Son of God, He was also truly God by nature.

To summarise –
John 14.28 is a description of Jesus position as a servant and not a comparison of nature or quality, unlike Hebrews 1.4 where the word “kreitton” is used to make a qualitative distinction.

To see further Scriptures relating to the nature of Jesus see the posting “ The Divinity of Jesus” on this website dated 28th December 2011.

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3 Responses »

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  2. Stated – “Firstly we need to note that Jesus does not say Jehovah is better than I. The word used here in John 14:28 is “meizon”, greater, and is a is a term relative to position. Better is relative to nature.”

    No one argues that Jesus was saying the Father was “better”.

    Stated – “This can be seen by comparing the verse with Heb. 1.4. In John 14.28, if the meaning of the verse had been intended to be better by nature then the word “kreitton” would have been used, as in Heb. 1.4, which describes Jesus as being better than the angels.”

    Correction, it is kreitton that refers strictly to status. Meizon can refer to either status or nature.

    Compare:

    Hebrews 7:1, 6-7 – For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, … but he whose genealogy is not counted from them hath taken tithes of Abraham, and hath blessed him that hath the promises. But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. (ASV)

    The word kreitton is used here comparing Melchizedek to Abraham. Either Melchizedek is greater in nature or kreitton refers to status.

    John 10:29 – My Father, who hath given [them] unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand. (ASV)

    The word meizon is used here. Does the Father have equal nature to all or is his nature truly greater than all?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  3. Thanks for your comment Dan, on John 14:28.
    I have to say that I am wondering where you got your meanings from of the words meizon and kreitton. – was it from a Watchtower source?
    The New American Standard New Testament Greek Lexicon, which can be looked at on line confirms the meanings of the two words. A summary of the definitions given is that meizon has a meaning of greater in a quantity sense, and kreitton a meaning of greater in a quality sense. It is noted that the NAS Lexicon is based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others.

    Regarding the point you make on Hebrews 7:1-7, little or nothing is recorded in Scripture of Melchizedek as a person, however Abraham is commended and given us as an example elsewhere in Scripture. They also both had the same human nature. The question we need to ask therefore and to answer the point you have made, is why in view of this is Abraham here referred to as the lesser and Melchizedek the better?
    It appears clear to me that the reference to better can only refer to Melchizedek because of his high office, as priest of the Most High God (verse 1) – the order of Melchizedek being shown as higher than that of the order of Aaron or Levitical priesthood.

    Lastly, on John 10:29 we can finally give an answer to the question ‘does the Father have equal nature to all or is his nature truly greater than all?’
    The word meizon here used in ‘greater than all’ does not denote greater in terms of quality or nature but greater in terms of his power.

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