I have journaled about these chapters and about this exact same topic before, but I cannot help that something is incredibly powerfully stirred in me when I read Matthew 12. I find myself pumping my fist at my study desk and raising my hands to worship quietly (so as not to wake Leslie and Owen) but passionately as I read what Jesus says. It is certainly one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture.
In the space of only 36 verses, Jesus claims that he is greater than the Temple (v. 6); that he is the sovereign, messianic, Son of Man (see Daniel 7) (v. 8); that he is the Lord of of the Sabbath (v. 8); that in him the Kingdom of God has come (v. 28); that he is greater than Jonah (v. 41), and that he is greater than Solomon (v. 42).
I love trying to imagine myself as an observer of this discourse, listening to Jesus calmly but firmly, and somehow still humbly, stating the facts: that he is greater than the the Temple, which was considered the ultimate meeting place between God and man; that he is the messianic deliverer of the people of God; that he is the Lord of the Sabbath, which can only equate him with the initiator of the Sabbath – God himself; that he is not only the ruler of the Kingdom of God, but in a very significant sense he is the Kingdom of God; and that he is greater than the king who brought the nation of Israel to the most expansive and glorious period in its history.
I love to imagine myself watching the absolute horror and outrage on the faces of the Pharisees, seeing the words begin to form on their lips: “YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!” Saying the sorts of things Jesus said in first century Palestine will get you killed. Ironically enough, it was Jesus’ death and resurrection that proved his words. He is God, the Lord of all things: Lord of the temple; Lord of the messianic reign; Lord of the Sabbath; Lord of the Kingdom; Lord of Jonah; Lord of Solomon.