Jesus Greater than...
In the new Testament we are told in no less
At that time Jesus went on
Sabbath day through
the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the
ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they
said unto him, Behold, thy
disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath
But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he
was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the
house of God, and did eat the
shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which
were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read
the law, how that on the Sabbath days
the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I
say unto you, That in
this place is
one greater than the
temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I
not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For
Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.
disciples of Jesus pluck some ears of corn as they were
Pharisees immediately criticised them for violating the Sabbath. Jesus
then reminded them of how their greatest king,
violated the the shrewbread and no one at the time nor then
Jesus spoke, sought to condemn David; nor even the fact
that every Sabbath the priests themselves violate the Sabbath and are
blameless. And then Jesus makes this statement: that in this place is one
greater than the
temple, obviously referring to Himself, what was He
The Temple was the centre of Jewish life; it was where God
where all the sacrificial system unfolded. The original temple was
built by Solomon, though this was destroyed by
was rebuilt after the exile and apart from
extensions made by Herod that was the Temple that was around
walked the earth.
When Solomon built the first Temple this is what was said:
Then said Solomon, The LORD
that he would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of
thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever. And
turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all
the congregation of Israel stood. And he said, Blessed be the
LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he
spake with his mouth to my father David, saying, Since the
that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city
among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might
be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people
Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be
and have chosen David to be over my people Israel. Now it was
the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD
God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father,
it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in
that it was in thine heart: Notwithstanding thou shalt not
the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he
shall build the house for my name. The LORD therefore hath
performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room
of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD
promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of
Israel. And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant
the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.
read of what
happens at the dedication:
Now when Solomon had made an
fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the
sacrifices; and the
glory of the LORD
filled the house. And the priests could not
enter into the
house of the LORD,
because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S
when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down,
and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with
their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and
praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for
and all the people offered sacrifices before the
LORD. And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two
oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the
people dedicated the house of God. And the priests waited on
their offices: the Levites also with
instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to
praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David
praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before
them, and all Israel stood. Moreover Solomon hallowed the
of the court that was
before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and
the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon
had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat
offerings, and the fat. Also at the same time Solomon kept
feast seven days, and
all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of
Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
the first Temple, God's glory filled it, just as it filled the
Tabernacle of old. It was there that God dwelt. As the
history unfolded there were constant backslidings and eventually, after
many centuries, God saw fit to bring judgement and used
destroy both the nation and its temple; God's glory had
from the land. Then some seventy years later God began to
once more and many returned to Jerusalem where they
the Temple and the city walls.
It was at this time that Haggai prophesied, the returned exiles were
discouraged and God spoke to them through Haggai.
Mention is once again made of the glory, but note
was only to come when 'the
desire of nations' was come! Who is this
desire if it's not Jesus? And that the latter glory would be greater
than the former; but hold on! Nowhere in scripture do we ever read that
the second temple, nor the temple as it was in Jesus' day,
filled with the glory of God as was the Tabernacle or the
first temple. So
what do we make of this prophecy?
now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to
Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the
people, saying, Who
among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it
now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O
Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people
of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the
LORD of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with
when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye
not. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a
while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and
the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall
come: and I
will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of
glory of this latter
house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts:
and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
This prophecy is purely Messianic, it is referring to the coming of
Christ, after all that is what the Jews were living in anticipation of.
To understand it we need to go to the NT.
answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us,
seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them,
Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and
wilt thou rear it up in three days? But He spake of the temple of his
When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered
that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and
the word which Jesus had said.
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt (=tabernacled) among
us, (and we beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem
is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto
Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this
mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is
of the Jews. But the
hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the
Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship
him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship
in spirit and in truth.
into the NT, and
consider the life of Jesus we get a new perspective on
and discover that the OT was but a shadow of all
that was to come in
the Lord Jesus. He in fact was to be the fulfilment of all
God showed His people in the OT. (eg. Mtt.5:17,
Heb. 10:1). And in these two scriptures of
John's gospel we have something very significant indeed.
Jesus when answering the Jews was referring, not to the physical
temple in Jerusalem that they were so used to, but rather His own
physical body, thus we have a shift in thinking. The emphasis
moving away from the actual outward things to those of the
Spirit. The Temple at Jerusalem was but a shadow of He who
was to come- Jesus. The glory
of the Father
no longer resided in the Temple at Jerusalem, but in Christ: we see
the glory of the Father through Christ. The Temple in Jerusalem is no
longer the only way to approach the Father, but now Christ is the only way to
approach God. (Jn.14:6)
Worship was no longer to be confined to an earthly building, but was to
be in Spirit and truth. The
centre of Spiritual Israel is not a building
made with hands, but Christ
Himself ( Col. 1:18;
Then there were the sacrifices and ceremonies of the Temple at
Jerusalem. As we read and study them in the OT we note how they all
point the to ONE
eternal sacrifice made through the Spirit at
Calvary. Jesus fulfilled everything to the last jot and
These were only shadows, it was impossible for them to take away
sin and make the comers perfect ( Heb.10:1-4),
only the finished work of Jesus at the cross could do that.
saying that He was greater than temple Jesus was pointing them to
the great truth That He
was the fulfilment of which all that these
Then certain of the scribes
the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from
answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous
generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to
it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:for as Jonas was three
days and three nights in the whale’s
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the
heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment
generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the
preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a
greater than Jonas is here.
Before the next statement concerning the greatness of
we have the following incidents: Jesus firstly heals a man
on a Sabbath day, thus angering the Pharisees, who immediately begin to
conspire to destroy Him. Then Jesus casts
out a devil
from a blind and deaf man and this further stirs the Pharisees up. This
time they accuse Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub; it was to
this that Jesus replied concerning blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Then we have the Pharisees and Scribes
asking Jesus for a
Already in this chapter we have Jesus performing two miracles: healing
a man and casting out a demon, and they have the cheek to ask for a
sign! And what was Jesus' reply? An
evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no
sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
We have an general principle that a sign seeking
called adulterous. To understand this let us consider what Jesus
calls adultery, it is not just the act, but the desire in the heart. (Mtt.5:27-28).
So adultery is an unlawful desire, applying this to Jesus'
to the Pharisees we understand that those who are
have a spiritual adulterous heart seeks signs. For to seek after signs
is to desire the wrong thing. Our hearts desires should be on Jesus for
He is the desire of the nations as we saw in Hag.2:2-9,
seek after any other thing other than Jesus is counted as spiritual
adultery. This we need to take to heart, especially when men seek after
this, or that in the spiritual realm.
Instead Jesus said to such the only sign is that of Jonah, so what we
do we make of that? Jesus explains Himself by referring to
own death and resurrection: that He Himself would be buried and would
be three days and nights in the earth. The sign of the resurrection is
the only sign such a generation would be given, because it
is this alone which proves and
distinguishes Jesus from everybody else, the proof of Jesus'
claims was His resurrection. Without it He would not have been declared
to be the Son of God, and consequently no salvation
13-22. Rom.;1:3-4; I Cor.15:3-4;16-18 and here we have a link with
the greater than the Temple statement in John's gospel.
But is there any more to this figure than this? I think there is. Jonah
ended up in the sea and the whales' belly because he was disobedient,
fled from God's command to go to Nineveh. We could, and hopefully we
are not stretching the figure too far, by saying that Jonah
initially a type of the first man, Adam. He disobeyed a
God and went off in the opposite direction in his heart;
consequently Adam was sent physically in the opposite direction on his
expulsion from Eden.
Because of Jonah's sin the whole of the ship's company he was
travelling in, was in danger of being lost into the sea. The
of the human race was plunged into loss because of our first
father's sin, we were doomed to eternal loss and misery. Here the
changes: Jonah now foreshadows Christ. Jonah was
into the sea to pacify the wrath of God on the ship, Jesus, who was
without sin, was, as it were cast, into the depths of God's judgement
for the sins of the whole world; He took the punishment that should
have been ours, He was truly baptised with a baptism!
The swallowing up by the whale, and then Jonah being spued
typifies the death and resurrection of Jesus, and it is this that is
the only sign, a sign seeking generation, will be given! Since the
resurrection is the proof of Jesus' claim, failure to believe His
resurrection, automatically means one doesn't accept His claims, and
therefore loses all hope of salvation.
said that Nineveh
would rise up in judgement against that generation, for they repented,
and it was at this point that Jesus declared Himself greater
Jonah. The people of Nineveh were Gentiles, and
the heart of Jonah's original rebellion, but the Pharisees were part
of the chosen nation, Israel; the highly favoured ones and they
Messiah, whereas the Gentiles repented at the preaching of Jonah.
repented at a lesser messenger, how worse it would be then
the chosen people to reject the promised One. Jesus, the
one, brings more than repentance from
unto eternal life Acts 11:18
In short, Jesus is greater than
Jonah for He is actually raised from
dead, not just so in a figure; His repentance is unto life and not just
The queen of the south shall
rise up in
the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came
from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and, behold, a greater
on which the Lord used the phrase ' a greater than...'
is in reference to
Solomon. The Queen of Sheba came to hear the wisdom of this
king of Israel. The order of these revelations from Christ,
in this twelve chapter
of Matthew, is quiet remarkable, for these statements regarding Solomon
tie in what we have seen so far.
Solomon's name means peaceable and his reign was one of peace, he
did not engage in warfare, quite unlike his father David, he entered
into the victory of a united kingdom of Israel, that David had
accomplished. And this is our
first thought. Solomon in type represents
entering into His glory. The Temple, our first thought,
typifies Jesus in His sacrificial role, and the
the Father dwelling in Him; Jonah of His death and
and now Solomon
His entering into the completed victory and His glory. A most
The second thought is that it was Solomon who built the first temple;
David, his father wanted to, and it was ever his intention to do so,
but because David was a man of war God would not allow him to do so.
Instead Solomon had that responsibility and privilege. ( I Chr.
28:2-8) We have now come full circle in our thoughts for
Jesus is greater than both the Temple and the man who built it.
In reference to Solomon the Queen of Sheba is mentioned. She came from
the south to hear of his wisdom, and this is what we read.
In order to follow the train of thought here we must
remember that it was God who gave wisdom to Solomon in the first place. II Chr.1:7-12. So
it wasn't a natural talent that this king had, but a special
gifting from God. Solomon asked of God, nothing doubting, and he
received. The Queen of Sheba heard but didn't believe, and like the men
of Samaria coming to Jesus to hear for themselves (Jn 4:39-42),
she came to prove this man, and when she did so could only exclaim that
not even half the story had been told.
when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon
with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels
that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when
she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her
heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was
nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not. And when the
queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he
had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his
servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his
cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up
into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
she said to the king, It
was a true
report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy
wisdom: Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and
mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of
thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame
heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants,
stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.
How does this relate to Jesus? For a start Jesus is greater
Solomon because Jesus didn't have the gifting of wisdom from God, nor
was He its greatest exponent, but rather HE IS THE WISDOM of
after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe. For the Jews
require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and
unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called,
Jews and Greeks, Christ
the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
I Cor 1:21-24
something, it is as though there is a void in the human heart and men
and women are seeking to fill that emptiness; as we saw with the
reference to Jonah, the Jews were seeking a sign, but the only sign we
have is Christ crucified, and resurrected; to
is to reject salvation. The Greeks, however seek wisdom, but Christ is
the wisdom of God , failure to accept that is
also to reject
salvation. In other words what the heart is really seeking, or
to use the words of Haggai, is Christ Himself; whether people
openly realise this or not, that is what the heart is crying out for.
But people try to fill the gap by seeking mere shadows of the reality.
Instead of the person they seek, everything else. If this is your case,
stop now and understand that your need is a person, the man Christ
Just as the queen of Sheba came to prove Solomon, so you can
and prove the truth of Jesus in your life; just
turn to Him
in repentance and believe on Him. And when a person comes to repentance
and to true life in Christ they come to the one who is the fulfilment
of all things the prophets said. He is the one in whom the glory of the
Father dwells, He is the one whom the Father sacrificed for us, He is
the one who was raised from the dead, and He is the one in the glory of
the resurrected life in the heavens on our behalf; He is the one who
brings us into the fulness of eternal life. He is
greater one than all things! The half though has not been told.
short Jesus is greater than Solomon because He IS the wisdom of God.
as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for
them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:
for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
I Cor. 2:9-10
quoting Isa. 64:4
So how do we sum all this up? Jesus is
than, the Temple,
Jonah and Solomon because He is the fulfilment af ALL they represent; the Temple
in its meaning to the nation of Israel's life, it
sacrificial and ceremonial life, Jonah
for Jesus actually rose from the dead and His gospel goes to
the Gentiles and not just one particular nation, the repentance of
which He preaches is unto life and not just escape from judgement; and Solomon
because Jesus does not just have wisdom but is the wisdom of
In all things Jesus is greater than anything or anyone else, so let
us fix our eyes on Jesus and nothing else.