Finishing up Matthew 12 this morning. And again, repetition is the Spirit’s megaphone.
“The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” ~ Jesus
(Matthew 12:41-42 ESV)
The scribes and the Pharisees wanted a sign from Jesus (12:38). Something more than the signs they had already seen. For after all, they tried to convince themselves, who knows if the authority and power Jesus obviously possessed to cast out demons wasn’t because He was Beelzebul, the prince of demons (12:24).
Jesus refutes their inane reasoning (12:25-32) and exposes their evil hearts (12:34). But, because of the hardness of their hearts, they persist to press Him. “Show us a sign, another sign. A better sign. A bigger sign.”
And Jesus, in essence, responds by saying, give your heads a shake. Your problem isn’t needing to see in order to believe, your problem is believing what you’re seeing.
Even the men of Nineveh believed Jonah was the prophet of God he claimed to be as he spoke the word of the Lord, and they repented at his preaching. What’s more, the pagan Queen of Sheba was willing to entertain that Solomon was a source of great wisdom and power and so she moved heaven and earth to get to know him. And behold, something greater than either Jonah or Solomon is here. And you want another sign?
Something greater. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.
Jesus is something greater. Greater than Jonah, greater than Solomon. The writer to the Hebrews takes up that theme: greater than the prophets, greater than angels, greater than Moses, greater than any high priest who ever interceded for God’s people, greater than any sacrifice ever offered for sin.
Go ahead, pick something, and isn’t Jesus greater? Greater than creation for He is the Creator. Greater than earthly wealth for He is the heir of eternal riches. Greater than life itself for He is the Author of Life.
Sure, Jesus is a friend of sinners. But He is not just like any other friend. He is something greater than a friend. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has conquered sin and death in order to redeem a people He condescends to call His friends.
Pick anything, and Jesus is still greater. Greater than my fear. Greater than my failure. Greater than all my sin.
As Barrett quotes Anslem in his book None Greater, as God incarnate Jesus is “something-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be thought.” He is “Someone than whom none greater can be conceived.”
The Pharisees had become way too comfortable around deity. “We wish to see a sign from You,” they said. Jesus, jump through some hoops for us. Prove yourself. Convince us Your worthy of our worship.
Such arrogance! For they failed to see, they refused to believe, that something greater is here.
Oh, that I would never fail to know Jesus as something greater.
By His grace. For His glory.