First off, my thanks goes out to T-Shirt Ninja for his compliment to the latest blog. It’s good to know that he’s appreciated and I’m pleased that he liked my blog also on looking at the Problem of Evil from the dentist’s chair. (Which I must experience AGAIN on the 11th. Joy joy joy.)
Tonight, we’re continuing our look at Trinitarian references in the gospels and we’re at Matthew 12. We’ve got two verses to look to tonight.
41The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. 42The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
I’d like to note something first off in this. The demeanor Jesus has as he says these things is incredible. I would like to consider myself to be a good apologist and one of my heroes in the field has been Ravi Zacharias. I also do have others such as Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Greg Koukl, Gary Habermas, etc.
I’d like you to consider though if I showed up at a conference that I had been invited to speak at as a new entry in the field and stood up and said, “You all just heard an excellent talk by Ravi Zacharias. Well let me tell you that someone greater than Ravi is here!” and then I pointed at myself. You would be thinking “Do I really need to listen to this arrogant guy up here?” Even if it was true, which I’m not saying it is, you wouldn’t want to listen!
The same would happen if I stood up and said such for any of the other names. Even if you didn’t think they were that good, you’d know that by and large they are considered to be and you would quickly mark me as someone arrogant and not worth listening to.
Yet somehow, when Jesus makes these statements, he’s not usually seen as arrogant. If you asked people to describe Jesus, arrogant is not a word they would normally use.
These statements though of Jesus’s are quite similar to what I had put in my own mouth, but it is the demeanor of Jesus and how he is that makes us think that not only are they not arrogant, but they could very well be true! Look at the first one.
He speaks of Jonah who spoke to the Ninevites, a prophet who spoke to a wicked nation, and those people repented. Jesus is speaking to a nation that has hardened its hearts to YHWH and they are not responding and Jesus is saying “One greater than the prophet is here.” Jonah was a man called of God with a message and Jesus, speaking in a time when there has been 400 years of silence is claiming to be greater than a prophet in the Old Testament.
The next one is even more astounding. Solomon was a great king in Israel’s history noted for his wisdom and knowledge and bringing Israel to a time of unique wealth and prosperity. It was this king that the queen of Sheba journeyed to meet just to hear of his wisdom.
One greater than Solomon is here in Jesus.
Solomon had God’s Wisdom. Jesus IS that Wisdom though. It is not just a possession but it is his very nature. We should think of the shock these statements would have brought to the hearers. On Jesus, they seem almost casual. It should astound us about him. If we ever thought about it, we would truly see what the guards said in John 7. “No one ever spoke like this man!”
The big question also though is, “Is what he said true?” I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s trilemma. He is either God, a lunatic, or the very devil of Hell. No simply good teacher would say these kinds of things. Yet Jesus did. A lunatic might say these kinds of things, but do we really consider Jesus a lunatic?
The question is which are you going to see him as? God, a lunatic, or the worst blasphemer that ever lived?
The choice is yours.