A Question I Was Asked:

Does John 14:28 Contradict John 10:30?

In John 10:30 Jesus says that he and his father are one, yet in John 14:28 Jesus says that His father is greater than He. Does that mean that He changed his mind?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Of course not. You need to look at the context and setting of these comments.

Obviously Scripture declares that Jesus was much more than a mere man. There are so many quotes on this point that it is hard to know where to start, but just consider John 1:1,14,17; 9:35-38; 10:30,33; 20:25-28 for a start. All Christians accept the Holy Trinity, that is the belief that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father are all God. But if Jesus was - and is - truly deity why would He say, "My Father is greater than I"? Simply because while He was on Earth, Jesus willingly humbled Himself, taking the form of a suffering servant in order to save mankind from the consequences of sin. Jesus was not denying His deity in John 14:28, the comments was given in a different setting and context. It probably helps to consider John 14:28 in the light of what Paul wrote to the Philippians:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8).

Jesus was prepared to 'empty Himself' for a few years in order to be the Saviour of Mankind, taking the form of a servant. It is in this setting and context that Jesus was able to say,

"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).

So whilst He walked upon this earth, Jesus temporarily emptied Himself of divinity at which time He was, of course very reliant on the Father and Spirit. Of course, He was filled with the Holy Spirit and was actually both God and Man yet He was physically flesh and blood just like all of us for around 33 years. In this humbled state, Jesus temporarily had less authority than His Father.

So it is eternally true that Jesus, His Father and Holy Spirit are One. We all need to carefully check the setting and comments of these things. Without sufficient understanding, people can imagine all kinds of inconsistencies.

Robin A. Brace. January 23rd, 2016.