Sunday, February 20, 2005

One Greater Than...

In Matthew 12, Jesus is greater than the temple (v6), greater than Jonah (v41), and greater than Solomon (v42). The temple was the center of worship for the Jewish people, and the place where the manifest presence of God dwelt. It where the Jews and even the Gentiles were to look in order to meet with God. For a first century Jew, the temple was the center of worship, and as closely tied to Yahweh as anything could be without it being idolatrous. Then the Teacher, Jesus comes along and says to a bunch of harassing Pharisees, “Something greater than the temple is here.” While they were still reeling from this blasphemous blow He hits them with another, “For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” This is no way to make friends or calm tension. I guess Jesus is showing His disciples what He meant earlier when He said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34). He goes on to point forward to His resurrection by saying what happened to Jonah is nothing compared to the miracle that will take place in Him. And He finishes by saying the wisdom of Solomon was just a shadow, just a whisper of Him, our true Wisdom and Righteousness.

The Pharisees came at Him and tried to get Him on the defensive. But the Lord Jesus Christ is never on defense. He turned the table on them quickly and started talking about THEIR judgment and that it relates to how they respond to Him. These questioners of God seemed to be great supporters of the Law (Sabbath keeping), and of the Prophets (Jonah), and of the Writings (Solomon). But when the ONE to whom all those things pointed stood right before them they plotted how to kill Him (12:14). All of their religious trappings and posturing were a lie! They would not humble themselves before the Lord, they would not submit to the King. The Pharisees, His disciples, I, have to come face to face with this. Jesus is not something I can probe, put on trial, and mold into my preconceived religious notions. He is Lord. He is King. He is God. May I recognize Him and worship Him for who He is. May I not just be a supporter of religious trappings, but a worshiper of the Lord.

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