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The greatness of Christ: Our Lord, Savior, Messiah, and King
Matthew 12:1-8, 38-42

The greatness of Christ: Our Lord, Savior, Messiah, and King
Matthew 12:1-8, 38-42

This is now our third week in the Book of Matthew, the main theme of which is: Jesus is the promised Messiah, Savior, and King of the Old Testament Prophecies. He is the ONE.

Last week we took a look at the Sermon on the Mount considering 3 things:

1. How to come to have right standing before God.
2. The amazing way in which we can address and relate to God: As Father.
3. The meaning of the most misquoted verse in the Bible- "Judge not, lest you be judged"

This morning I want to talk to you about the greatness and supremacy of Christ from the perspective of Matthew 12.

There are many texts in the Bible that declare the greatness of our Lord and King.

Colossians 1:15-20 says of Jesus; "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn
over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."


LET'S READ MATTHEW 12:1-14, 38-42

4 BIG CLAIMS OF JESUS

The first two, found in v.6-7 are linked together. The next 2 - found in v.41-42 are also linked together.

I. Our first 2 claims: Forming a part of Jesus' response to some Pharisees who accuse him of the crime of working on the Sabbath--- violating the 4th commandment. Matthew 12:1-8

According to the Pharisees, Jesus' walking through a grain field and snacking on the heads of grain constituted the harvesting and milling of grain.

In refuting the Pharisees of their foolishness, spurious charges, and legalism Jesus provides two legal examples of precedence in his defense:

a. David and his companions eating the sacred bread that was at the house of God (1 Samuel 21). They were cleared of wrongdoing because their hunger and need outweighed the ceremonial ritual associated with the bread that was before the Lord
b. While the priests who served in the Temple were guilty of working on the Sabbath v.5 -- yet they were considered innocent because they were doing God's work.

Building on these citations of precedence Jesus makes 2 massive claims

1. "I tell you that one greater than the temple is here" v.6 I AM GREATER THAN THE TEMPLE
2. "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" v.7 I AM LORD OF THE SABBATH


Info on The Temple - As it relates to Jesus' claim to be greater than it

-It was considered by the Jews to be the most important building on Earth
-It was the centre for the worship of God
-It was a place of prayer for all nations
-this now the third one (Solomon's, the post exilic one, Herod's Temple)-- it had taken 46 years to build.
-It was the centre for all authorized sacrifices and offerings to God.
-Ultimately by the prophetic words of Christ in Matthew 24, the Temple was destroyed.

How is Jesus greater than the Temple

1. The Temple was just a symbol for the power and presence of God-a building made by human hands (Acts 7:48-49)- Jesus is the eternal son of God. The Temple was a symbol, Jesus is the substance. The Temple was a shadow Jesus is the reality.
2. While the Temple was the centre for the worship of God, Jesus is the object of our worship
3. While the Temple was a place of prayer for all nations, to Jesus to pray. It is in His name that we pray.
4. At the Temple sacrifices were offered everyday for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus offered himself for our sins. His once for all sacrifice is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins for every person. No other sacrifice for sins is needed.
5. While the Temple once was filled with the glorious light of the glory of God, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3

Application (thanks to Charles Spurgeon)

-We ought to consider our Lord with greater wonder than that which men surveyed the Temple
-We ought to think of him with greater joy than the Jews did of the Temple. In Psalm 84:1-2 it says of the Temple "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." How much greater is our joy to have Christ as our Savior, Redeemer, and God.
-We also ought to regard Christ with a greater solemnity. The Jew would take off their shoes when entering the Temple enclosure, how much greater respect and honour do we owe to Christ.

Info on the Sabbath -- as it relates to Jesus' claim to be Lord of the Sabbath

Interesting that Jesus - in speaking of himself as Lord of the Sabbath uses an Old Testament Messianic term to refer to himself "Son of Man". Coming from Daniel 7:13--- again reinforcing the main theme of Matthew: Jesus is the promised Messiah, Savior, and King of the Old Testament prophecies.

Purpose and function of the Sabbath

-A day of rest and worship -- patterned after the 6 days of Creation of Genesis 1-2 (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
-A day symbolically pointing forward to the eternal rest of God. Interesting the Promised Land also viewed as a land of rest pointing forward to the future rest of God. (Hebrews 4)
-A command uniquely for the Jews (It is the only command of the 10 that Jesus did not repeat in the New Testament. In the New Testament we not explicitly told to worship God on the Sabbath. Interesting verse: Romans 14:5 "One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind." HOWEVER: The Sabbath principle still remains today. We are to make time every week for corporate prayer and worship. Why we meet on Sundays: In honour of Christ who rose on Sunday.

How is Jesus greater than the Sabbath

1. In Christ is rest. His is the ultimate rest. He gives eternal rest, The REST of Heaven
2. As the Sabbath to be a day of rest and Worship--- He is the worthy object of our worship

Hear the invitation and call of Hebrews 4:1 "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it." and later in v.9-11 it says "There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rest from his own work, just as God did from hi. Let, us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by by following their example of disobedience (referring the rebellious ways of the Jews who hardened their hearts against the call of God)

Hear his invitation "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Follow up: As if to drive the point home that Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath he purposefully went to one of their synagogues and healed a man with a shrivelled hand. This made them mad.


The next couplet of big claims that Jesus' makes are found in Matthew 12:38-42

Despite his teaching, his fulfilling the prophecies, and miraculous exercise of power and authority over nature, sickness, disease, death, and evil spirits the Pharisees and teachers of the law were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, hence in v.38-42 they come up to Jesus and demand a miraculous sign--- just for them. This ticked Jesus off so much that he calls them "wicked" and "adulterous" and then speaks of how in the judgment to come they and all those in league with them will be condemned by the men of Nineveh who repented when Jonah preached to them and the Queen of Sheba who came to listen to the wisdom of King Solomon. (See book of Jonah and 1 Kings 10)

In rebuking the Pharisees, Jesus makes two more big claims

1. One greater than Jonah is here
2. One greater than Solomon is here


Who Jonah was and why Jesus is greater than him

-Jonah was a prophet dating to somewhere between 793-758 B.C
-In his day the Ninevites (an Assyrian city) were oppressors of Israel and known for their cruelty. In 722 BC they conquered and deported the 10 Northern tribes of Israel.
-Because God cares about people and their salvation, God commanded Jonah to go and preach "40 more days and Nineveh will be destroyed".
-Jonah ran away because he didn't want to obey God.
-God got Jonah's attention, the result being that he spent 3 days and nights in the belly of a great fish.
-Jonah "saw the light" and grudgingly obeyed God.
-A miracle happened-- the Ninevites repented at his preaching. They confessed their sins, they humbled themselves before God, they cast aside their idols, it was amazing.
-To the Pharisees Jesus announces what will be his greatest miracle: As Jonah was 3 days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so he will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (speaking of his death, burial, and ressurection).

How is Jesus greater than Jonah

-Greater in person, greater in office, greater in doctrine, greater in miracles, greater in life, obedience, attitude, sufferings, death, and resurrection.

As the Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah, so when one hears Christ say "Repent of your sins" that is to be our response. Repent. Turn to Christ. Follow and obey Him.***

What kinds of things are we to repent of? lying, stealing, sexual immorality of all sorts (porn, pre marital sex, homosexuality, lust), swearing, misusing God's name, greed, lack of contentment, not telling others about Jesus, dishonoring our parents, having a critical spirit, slander, hate, unforgiveness, etc

Solomon and why Jesus is greater than him

In rebuking the Pharisees and the teachers of the law in their demand for a miraculous sign, Jesus speaks of how at the judgment to come the Queen of the South will rise and condemn them for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon and his wisdom and yet here Jesus is-- greater than Solomon-- and they refuse to listen to him

-In 1 Kings 3 God gives Solomon a blank cheque to ask Him for whatever he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom and so God gave him the greatest amount of wisdom any mere man has ever had in addition to gold, silver, and treasures beyond measure.
-So famous was Solomon for his wisdom and understanding of all subjects, that people from all over the known world came to him to for council and to test him.
-Solomon is also famous-- for he is the one who built the first Temple of the Lord

How is Jesus greater than Solomon

1. While Solomon was rich and gave to the Queen of Sheba more than she brought to him-- everything belongs to Jesus and to us Christ gives the riches of gifts-- salvation, the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, His Word, the Holy Spirit, Heaven as our home.
2. While Solomon was wise, Jesus is the embodiment of wisdom. In the Book of Proverbs wisdom is personified as a woman to whom we are to listen to. Jesus is wisdom in the flesh.
3. As people sought out Solomon and listened, the call of Christ is to go to Him -- for He is the the Word become flesh. As the Father said at Christ's baptism "This is my Son, listen to Him". Luke 9:35

CONCLUSION

4 big claims

His claims demand a response- particularly given that he did exactly what he said-- he rose from the dead.

Put your faith in Christ and follow Him