Matthew 12 is fast-paced with astounding declarations and events, one after another: Jesus proclaims Himself Lord of the Sabbath; restores a withered hand; announces He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy; heals a demon-possessed man; reveals the Pharisees’ thoughts; warns against the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit; exposes the Pharisees’ careless words and evil hearts; rebukes the evil and adulterous generation; and embraces the faithful as His family.
And in the midst of this miraculous and authoritative activity, He repeats Himself “something greater than … is here.” Three times…and we know what that means…pay attention!
- “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here,“ (12:6).
- “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here,” (12:41).
- “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here,” (12:42).
Consider Him, Something Greater
The Temple was the place constructed where the priests would offer the blood sacrifices to atone for the sins of themselves and the people, the place where God’s presence and glory would dwell. But it was a place made of human hands, a temporary structure, and atonement for sins must be repeated annually.
1. Something Greater than the Temple
- Jesus was not created; He is the Creator. “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 is before all things, and in Him all things hold together,” (Colossians 1:16-17).
- Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. “…in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:2-3).
- Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice, once and for all. “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself,” (Hebrews 7:26-27).
Jonah was thrown into the sea, swallowed by a great fish and in its belly three days and three nights. The LORD caused it all, not Jonah; The LORD caused the great storm
resulting in Jonah being thrown overboard; The LORD appointed the great fish to swallow Jonah where he stayed three days and three nights; and the LORD commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land. And, all this happened due to Jonah’s disobedience.
2. Something Greater than Jonah
- Jesus laid down His own life. “I am the good shepherd… and I lay down My life for the sheep… 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father,” (John 10:14, 15, 18).
- Jesus raised Himself to new life. “The Jews then said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?’ 19 Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20 The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken,” (John 2:18-22).
- Jesus was without sin. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Solomon was granted the gift of wisdom, like none before or any to come. “It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after
3. Something Greater than Solomon
- The wisdom of Jesus is beyond comprehension. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33).
- The wisdom of Jesus makes foolish the wisdom of the world. “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,” (1 Corinthians 1:20-25).
- The wisdom of the gospel of Jesus is the power of God for salvation. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,” (Romans 1:16).
How do we respond to Him, Something Greater?
Jesus is Something Greater than all others. He has made atonement for our sins, conquered sin and death by His resurrection, and imparted to us the gift of faith to receive salvation. We can never offer Him anything comparable to His great gift of love freely given. Nothing we are or have is worthy of Him, Something Greater. But, He has told us when we love Him, what our love will look like.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him,” (John 14:21).
Obedience is the place we enjoy the privilege of His presence. Let us love Him in reckless abandonment and surrendered obedience. Jesus is Something Greater than all else; He deserves our great love and nothing less.