I was taught that the persons of the Trinity are all equal. But Jesus says that the Father is greater than him. Is this so?
The three persons of the Trinity are all equal. Regarding their equality and oneness, the preface of the Holy Trinity says of our Triune God: In the confession of the true and eternal Godhead there is adored a distinctness of persons, a oneness in essence, and an equality in majesty.
So what does it mean when the same Jesus who said, "The Father and I are One" (Jn 10:30), also says, "The Father is greater than I" (John 14:28)?
Theologically it means that the Father is the source in the Trinity. All the members are co-eternal, co-equal, equally divine, but the Father is the Principium Deitatis (the Principle of the Deity). Jesus proceeds from the Father from all eternity. In effect Jesus is saying, "I delight that the Father is the principle of my being, even though I have no origin."
Devotionally, Jesus is saying I always do what pleases my Father. Jesus loves his Father, is crazy about him, is always talking about him and pointing to him. In effect he says, by calling the Father greater, "I look to my Father for everything and I do what I see him doing (Jn 5:19) and what I know pleases him (Jn 5:30). His will and mine are one, and what I will to do proceeds from him and I do what I know accords with his will, whom I love."
It says in Luke, that Jesus was subject to his Father and Mother, Joseph and Mary. Were they superior to him? No. And neither is Jesus less than equal to His Father by looking to him for everything and being of one will with Him.
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