Day 123: Jesus Claims to be Great

Luke 11:29-32 :

When the multitudes were gathering together to him, he began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks after a sign. No sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah, the prophet. For even as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will also the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and will condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here.

This is one of those passages that makes it difficult to say that Jesus was just a nice guy or a great teacher. What kind of a great teacher would say he was better than Solomon or the prophet Jonah? Either Jesus is greater, or He has a serious problem with boasting. It is important to notice that He elevates Himself above the wisest teacher who ever lived. Listen to what God said about Solomon:

1 Kings 4:29-34 :

God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and very great understanding, even as the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all the nations all around. He spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were one thousand five. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, and of birds, and of creeping things, and of fish. There came of all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

Jesus emphatically claims that He is greater than Solomon knowing well what was said about him in the Bible. This is probably one of the things that made the religious leaders so mad. Jesus was claiming to be great, far greater than they, and on top of that He found it easy to put them down as we read more about later. Now, if Jesus claims to be wiser than the one who “was wiser than all men,” who does that make Jesus out to be?

Jesus says that his whole generation is evil here. Then He puts them down by saying that the Ninevites were wiser than they are. I don’t think you can call Him “seeker friendly” and He can’t really be called “nice.” Notice that He says that they will be given “the sign of Jonah.” We know from other passages that this is the sign of Jesus death and resurrection. Jonah was the one who spent three days and three nights in the sea creature and lived to tell the tale. He then came and told the people that they were sinners and needed to repent or be destroyed. Jesus was to die and be buried and raise from the dead three days later and change the rest of history.

It should be very clear to all who believe the Bible, that Jesus claimed to be far greater than any man who ever lived and it should be clear to everyone that He was exactly right.