I have been having a bit trouble trying to understand John 14:28 and John 14:9 because Jesus says in the 1st verse I mentioned "If you have seen me you have seen the father." and in the other "The Father is greater than I."

Jesus answered: "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? — John 14:9 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

Could Jesus have meant this: Jesus is God so that makes him the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all at once, and since he came down AS the son while being equal with the Father, maybe when he said "The Father is greater then I." was just only The Son (The 2nd person of the Trinity) saying that the Father is greater than him only in roles. Would this interpretation be in harmony with the rest of Scripture?

  • John 10:30, which you did not list, follows a similar pattern of thought to that of Genesis 2:24; now, would you say, for instance, that either Adam or Eve have two souls (their own, and that of their spouse) living inside their respective bodies ? :-)
    – Lucian
    Jun 18, 2020 at 14:10

7 Answers 7


The Athanasian Creed (not to mention the Ecumenical Councils and early Church fathers) teaches us that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons, each of which is God. It also teaches us that the Son (who is only one Person) has two natures, a human nature and a divine nature.

The Creed professes the Son as "Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood." Thus, in John 14:28, it seems that the Son is referring to His human nature, which is inferior to the Father's divine nature. Moreover, the context of John 14:28 supports the idea that Christ's frail humanity is being referred to when Christ says "the Father is greater than I," because in the very same verse He alludes to His death, saying "be glad that I am going to the Father." And the next day, He suffered and died on the cross.

John 14:9 is a little harder to reconcile. At first glance, one is tempted to fall into the modalist heresy, which teaches that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are all the same Person and are not distinct. Of course, however, John 14:28 teaches that the Son is distinct from the Father, since otherwise He would be lying to say "the Father is greater than I." Thus, the modalist theory falls apart.

Notice that Jesus does not say, "I am the Father." Instead He says "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." To see the Son's divine nature is to see the Son. To see the Father's divine nature is to see the Father. The Athanasian Creed teaches us that the Father and the Son share the same divine nature/essence. Thus, anyone who has seen the Son (in His divine nature) has seen the Father.

But, how can anyone see the divine nature if it's invisible? Keep in mind that to "see" doesn't always have to mean with the eyes, but sometimes one can also "see" with the heart. To "see" can also mean to understand (Upon discovering a new theorem, the mathematician exclaimed, "I see! It makes sense!") Christ may have meant, "Whoever understands me understands the Father."

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    Excellent contribution. Many thanks +1.
    – user25930
    Sep 12, 2018 at 22:31

In John 14:9 Jesus is NOT saying, "You see me I am God the Father." Jesus is telling us when we put his whole speech in context is, " You understand me the Son of God you understand God my Father as well." The word of God is spiritual, mankind are looking at the carnal in order to interpret the spiritual. It doesn't work like that.

Basic English 101."

I understand what you mean = I have seen what you mean

I have seen it all = I understand it all

In the beginning of John 14 Jesus told us a key verse.

John 14: 1 ] Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. [ 2 ] In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [ 3 ] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [ 4 ] And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Jesus is telling us about his works they show who God his Father is dwelling in his Son Jesus. Most Christians would not be great journalists as they only have a begging of a conversation and not the whole conversation in context. Most journalists I know get the whole conversation and not part of a conversation out of context.

John 14:9 ] Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? [ 10 ] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [ 11 ] Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. [ 12 ] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. [ 13 ] And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.


Can John 14:28 and John 14:9 be reconciled by saying Jesus had all three parts of the Trinity in him ?

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

Regarding John 14:8-10 (NIV)

8 "Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work."

Seeing God with the eyes of the heart.

God said to Moses " “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20) and so when Jesus said to Philip,"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," and when John wrote; "whoever does evil has not seen God." (3 John 11 NRSV) It obvious they were speaking ,that they were not seeing God literally ,but with the eyes of the heart. (Ephesians 1:18) So anyone seeing Jesus that reflected the qualities and personality of his Father, was like seeing God himself. The apostles were able to see the love of Jesus for his friends and mankind,his compassion for the sick, and how he corrected them with kindness when they were arguing who is the greatest, it was like seeing God in person.

The Father is greater than I.

Regarding John 14:28 NIV

"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."

"For the Father is greater than I," literally means that the Father excels in knowledge , power and authority, some may say that this is was during his human nature, but by saying this, they actually dissolve their belief, but what really matters is what the scriptures tell us, before and after his ascension to heaven.

Jesus acknowledged his Father's superiority in authority and position when he said:

Matthew 20:23 (NRSV)

23 "He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

As a spirit being ,Jesus admits that he is a servant and that his Father that sent him is greater.

John 8:42 (NRSV)

42 "Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me."

John 13:16 (NRSV)

16 "Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them."

Inspired by the spirit of God the apostles wrote and teached ,that even after Jesus ascension to heaven, that the Father as being superior in authority .

God is the head of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:3 (NRSV)

**3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife,[b] and **God is the head of Christ.****

Jesus intercedes with the Father.

1 John 2:1 (NRSV)

2 "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

God sent his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10 (NRSV)

9 "God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins."

Jesus relinquishes his rulership to the Father then he subjects himself to Him.

1 Corinthians 15:28 (NRSV)

28 "When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all."

The Bible tells us about Jesus prehuman existence , that he is the beginning of God's creation :

Revelation 3:14 (NASB )

"The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God

And that by him all things were created :

Colossians 1:15-17 (NASB)

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He [c]is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

Other verses ,Philipians 2:8-9, Ephesians 1:20-21, Acts 2:32-33.

Conclusion .

God is the head of Christ 1 Corinthians 11:3, Jesus is the beginning of God's creation Rev. 3:14 (Darby)

Jesus repeatedly said that he was inferior to his Father, other writers also wrote and teached that Jesus was subordinate to the Father, even after Jesus assented to heaven. Paul said of Jesus : "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." an image is not the original and hence Jesus is not "the God,"(Col. 1:15-17). and that God is the head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3) . John went to great pain to tell us that Jesus became "flesh" (John 1:14) and not God. Jesus was tempted by Satan, Matthew 4:9 , on the other hand it is unimaginable that God can be tempted and be disloyal to himself,(James 1:13, Deuteronomy 32:4)

So when Jesus said to his apostles , "for the father is greater than I."some say that this was so because Jesus was still on earth, however we have seen that this is not what the Bible says. It is also strange that Jesus forgot to tell this to his followers, the expression simply means the "Father is superior in knowledge, power and authority ," during his earthly sojourn and after he assented to heaven


John is the one who wrote this gospel who quoted Jesus saying anyone who has seen me has seen the father but he also says no man has seen God at anytime... people have seen Christ before he came in the flesh, in the flesh, after his resurrection and once again John saw him in the revelation. And still no man has seen God. The Trinity doctrine states that if you have seen any one of the Father,Son or Holy Spirit you have seen God which contradicts what is written in the gospel of John the first epistle of John and 1 Timothy chapter 6 or maybe 5 which Paul states "whom no man has seen nor can see dwelling in light which no man can approach unto".

Throughout revelation chapters 2 and 3 Jesus refers to the Father as his God multiple times also at the end of John he says go and tell my disciples I go unto my father and your father and my God and your God... so it's fair to say from my perspective that the doctrine of the trinity is no good!

Why cant Jesus be saying the Father is greater than him because He is! Isn't being the son of God great enough???

All dominion power and authority is his because it was given to him... Jesus also says as the Father has life in Himself so also has he given that the son may have life in himself... God cannot be given anything because all things are His... Jesus received things from God!!! At the same time he is worthy of praise and honor and glory! But not in the same way as God because God received this honor from no one but Christ was given this honor by God...

Also a mediator is not of one but God is one!!! Nowhere in the bible does it say God is 3 in 1! And the word trinity is nowhere to be found!

There are many man made doctrines in the church today! There must needs be heresies among you that those who are chosen may be manifest among you! These people honor me with there lips but there hearts are far from me for in vain they do worship me teaching as commandments the doctrines of men... LET GOD BE TRUE AND EVERY MAN A LIAR!

  • Hello and welcome to the site! Can you please edit this to add some paragraph breaks?
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 24, 2018 at 3:45
  • "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:1-14) Your argument that Jesus isn't God is invalid. If you're still not convinced, read mostholyfamilymonastery.com/catholicchurch/jesus-is-god-bible Aug 24, 2018 at 18:48
  • That is not the only translation of the passage in John 1:1. The moffit translation say the word was divine... the new testament translation by David Bentley hart recognizes that when it says the word was god it is not speaking of the supreme God. To me you would have to ignore all other scripture to say this. The Lod our God is one Lord deuteronomy 6:4... there is one God and one mediator between man and God, 1Timothy2:5. But to us there is one Lord Jesus Christ and one God the Father 1Corinthians 8:6... many other scriptures like these. Where does it say in the bible that God is 3 in 1?
    – Eric Ross
    Aug 24, 2018 at 21:47
  • @EricRoss Thank you for responding! If you are up for it, I would love to address the verses you cite, but the moderators frown on using the comments for extended discussion. We can continue the debate here chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/82213/…. Aug 25, 2018 at 3:45
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    Sorry my friend it wont let me says I have to have 20 somethings... new here was just doing some research and stumbled upon it... I was just talking off the top of my head have alot of questions... but I dont deny Christ deity just the doctrine of the trinity! He was begotten of God the Express image, copy, imprint of God, I just believe He had a beginning... I dont see anything wrong with that and I dont see anything that says he didnt... firstborn and only begotten aren't terms of always existed from my viewpoint...
    – Eric Ross
    Aug 25, 2018 at 7:25

The three personal attributes that God favours most, are: 1. righteousness 2. unselfishness. and, 3. chastity. These three attributes make up the three aspects of the Trinity.

God's delight in rigtheousness can be found in Ps 106:3

"Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!"

His delight in unselfishness can be found in John 13:34

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another".

And his delight in chastity can be found in Galatians:

"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified" (3:1).

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (5:25).

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (6:14).

Consequently, unselfishness is the caveat for righteousness, and chastity is the caveat for unselfishness. Jesus represented all these three interlinked aspects of God, although the attribute of chastity, which is the crowning of the three, was not clearly shown until he bore the crown of thorns.

  • The crucified Christ is our Passover Lamb. We should, therefore, take heed to sanctify the movement of our hands and feet, to prevent losing the plot at an “evening party with wine, chips, and dip” (1 Cor 5:7; Gal 2:20; 2 Cor 5:21, 7:1). Besides an early self imposed personal night curfew, prayer and fasting will prevent this from happening to us (Mat 17:21. NKJV). May 2, 2020 at 3:27

"Who has seen Me has seen the Father" - in this expression main thing is the semantics of the "seen". It is impossible that Jesus means here a physical seeing, for when somebody sees Him physically, it is impossible to see also the Father, for Father does not have physical body and physical movements.

Thus, "seen" means an intellectual vision, an understanding. Now, if anybody sees with intellectual eyes the actions of Jesus, that He forgives with a sovereign authority sins of people; that He knows hearts of men; that He heals and even resurrects from death without prayer to God, but Himself, etc. then this intellectual vision will acknowledge Him as having the same and equal authority and capacity as the Father; the conclusion of the intellectual vision will be that had the Father Himself got incarnate, He would not do anything more or different than Jesus has done and therefore "He who has seen Me, has seen also the Father".

Now, the Son still is not identical to the Father, for He says "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30), so if there is a plurality in the unity, then there is not a complete identity in all respects, but also a complete difference within a complete identity. Now, the "greatness" of the Father cannot be searched in the identity aspect, in which He is one with the Son, but only in the difference aspect. This difference is that the Father is the Source of the Son, not vice-versa. Thus, as St. Basil of Caesarea says, "Father is greater than the Son from the point of view of the order of causality"; and also, the Son became man, and God is greater than human, created nature.


In reference and critical analysis to these claims: "I think that Eric is unfamiliar with the Scriptures that do teach the Trinity doctrine such as Matt 28:19, where the singular "name" is used for all three, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit". We also have the three explicitly mentioned in 2 Cor 13:14. Lastly, we have the passage in Heb 1:8 where God the Father call Jesus, "God". – user25930 Aug 25 '18 at 21:38" I offer this overarching apologetic consideration as to the originality or intent of inferring a Trinity statement let alone any sort of doctrine in which would be highly doubtful considering all mitigating evidential references to ad light to the subject... https://www.trinitytruth.org/matthew28_19addedtext.html and to consideration of Heb 1:8 I offer this critical analysis... https://www.biblicalunitarian.com/featured/hebrews-1-8

  • I do not see how this can be regarded as a suitably comprehensive treatment of the subject under discussion.
    – Nigel J
    May 7, 2021 at 0:45

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