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Greater Than Solomon

Scripture: Matthew 12:38-42; Text: Matthew 12:42

"The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgement 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 than Solomon is here." (Matthew 12:42).

There are so many great characters of the Bible, that have been used to teach about Jesus. We might think of Noah or Abraham and see something that reminds us of Christ. We look at Joseph sparing the lives of his family and we see Jesus delivering the elect family of God, from eternal death and destruction. Even Jonah in the whale for three days, serves to remind us of Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection. Paul used Moses to teach about Jesus, showing the faithfulness of both of them and then declaring Jesus to be worthy of more glory (Hebrews 3:2-3). We must always remember in such comparisons as these, that no mere mortal can ever completely portray Jesus. The Bible says, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9).

In Matthew 12:42, we have a comparison between Solomon and Jesus Christ. This comparison is not intended to elevate Solomon, but rather should focus our attention on Jesus as one greater than Solomon. The comparison of the two is also set forth in other scriptures. God said of Solomon, "I will be his father, and he shall be my son" (2 Samuel 7:14). These words are also used concerning Jesus, saying, "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son" (Hebrews 1:5). There is therefore a comparison between Jesus and Solomon, with emphasis on Jesus as the greater of the two!

First of all, when we think of Solomon, we generally think of his wisdom. Most people say that the outstanding quality of Solomon, is that he excelled in wisdom above other men. Solomon had prayed to God asking not for wealth or long life, but for wisdom. God gave the wisdom declaring, "Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee" (1 Kings 3:12). No one did arise from among men, but one came down from heaven with greater wisdom. Jesus is greater than Solomon in wisdom and that singular fact is pointed out in our text.

While the wisdom of Solomon was greater than other mortals, the wisdom of Jesus was greater than that of Solomon. So great is the wisdom of Jesus that He is actually called wisdom. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). Isaiah in prophecy had spoken of His wisdom saying, "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2). As Jesus came to live and walk among men, He was said to have been "filled with wisdom" (Luke 2:40). He was so full of wisdom that even those who did not believe He was the Son of God, recognized His wisdom saying, "Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" (Matthew 13:54).

Solomon spoke three thousand proverbs and composed one thousand and five songs (1 Kings 4:32), yet the wisdom of all these did not equal the wisdom of Jesus. The wisdom of our Lord is such that millions have been blessed and guided by His words. The words of wisdom spoken by our Lord were accurately described by the soldiers sent to arrest Him. "The officers answered, Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46).

The second feat of greatness mentioned in the New Testament about Solomon ,was the temple which he built. His father David wanted to build this great house for God, but because he was a man of war, he was not permitted to do so. David accumulated the wealth for the building of the temple, but it was Solomon who actually built it. In the New Testament we read, "But Solomon built him an house" (Acts 7:47). The temple which Solomon built was no doubt one of the most beautiful buildings ever erected. There was tremendous cost in constructing that temple, but none of us would question the fact that God is worthy of all that splendor and expense.

However, though Solomon built that glorious temple, Jesus built a greater building than Solomon. That which Jesus built was the church! Jesus said, "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Jesus paid for this building with a price far above the gold and silver in the temple Solomon built. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19). The church built by our Lord was made of the elect, chosen before the world began, redeemed from fallen humanity. Indeed the building of Jesus is greater than the building of Solomon.

The third characteristic of Solomon that is mentioned in the New Testament, is his glory. As Jesus spoke the words we call the "Sermon on the Mount" He said, "That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matthew 6:29). Solomon definitely had a glory that was all his own. Glory is associated with honor, preciousness and beauty. Even as Solomon had glory, so also Jesus has a glory that belongs to Him. John said, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Some of the glory of Solomon was lost at the end of his life, when he followed his wives to serve other gods (1 Kings 11:4). However the glory of Jesus has never been diminished and never shall be. In eternity we shall be blessed to see His glory in its fullness (John 17:24).

In addition to the three mentioned in the New Testament, we may also compare the prayers of Solomon and Jesus. Solomon's recorded prayer began in 1 Kings 8:22 and ends with verse fifty-three. It consisted of thirty-one verses of scripture, which is actually longer than the longest recorded prayer of our Lord. The longest recorded prayer of Jesus is found in the seventeenth chapter of John and is twenty-six verses long. However, we are to remember the words of Jesus which declares that we are not heard for our "much speaking" (Matthew 6:7). Therefore, it is not the length of our prayers, but rather the substance of our prayers that really counts. To read carefully the prayers mentioned, reveals clearly that the prayer of Jesus was greater than Solomonís prayer.

Has anyone ever prayed such a prayer as our Lord did when in Gethsemane. His sweat fell as great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). What deep concern for others, the prayers of our Lord manifest. To Peter He said, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). The prayers of Solomon have now been silent for almost three-thousand years, yet our Lord Jesus still intercedes for us at the right hand of God our Father (Hebrews 7:25). Surely a greater than Solomon, is Jesus Christ our Lord!

Solomon also had great power. He was a mighty king and great power was at his disposal. He could command armies to march and human life to be extinguished. However, the power of Solomon is but the dim flickering of a candle beneath the noon day sun, when it is compared to the power of Jesus. Jesus could command the mighty forces of nature. As He and His disciples were caught in a storm, Jesus "rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm" (Matthew 8:26). In addition to His power over nature, Jesus has power over life and death. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave (John 11:43) and also took life again for Himself. Jesus said of His life, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father" (John 10:18). Now Solomon had power to take life, but not to restore it. Solomon could die, but could not take life and live again. Jesus is greater than Solomon, for all power in heaven and earth is given to Christ (Matthew 28:18). The power of our Lord is unequaled by the power of Solomon or any other mortal.

If Solomon were alive today, many would marvel at his greatness and be willing to follow him. As it was then, so it would be now; that people would live obedient to his will, and would even die for him. But what about Jesus? He is greater than Solomon! Why are so few willing to live and die for Him? Solomon was great, but he is gone. Jesus was great, but He is still great for He lives on! A greater than Solomon is here! He says, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:18).

Solomon lived a great life in many ways. I am sure that his life benefited many people, but the death of Solomon ended his life. His death accomplished nothing more. However, with the death of Jesus our sin debt was paid in full and we are saved by grace, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Paul said, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3). Since Jesus died for us, we should live for Him! I tell you, that we should worship and praise Him and give greater devotion to Jesus, than was ever given Solomon. We should repent of our sins which displease Him and take the cross of service to follow Christ. A greater than Solomon is here in the person of our Saviour. We are condemned by the word of God, if we fail to give Him more love and devotion than was given to Solomon. "Behold a greater than Solomon is here."

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014