“But I say to you that something greater than the Temple is here.” (Matthew 12:6)
From time to time we hear the assertion that Jesus never claimed to be God. Anyone saying such things demonstrates gross Biblical illiteracy. Passages such as this one demonstrate clearly Jesus’ claim to deity:
— In :6 He said, “Something greater than the Temple is here.” He was referring to Himself, and saying that He is greater than the Temple. But the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem was one of the most revered, and most holy elements of their religion. To say that HE was greater than the temple was a lofty claim!
— Then in :8 Jesus explicitly says, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Like the temple, the Sabbath day was one of the most revered and holy facets of Judaistic faith and practice. But Jesus asserted here that He was LORD of the Sabbath! There is only ONE Who is Lord of the Sabbath — and that is GOD!
These claims would be outrageous coming from the lips of any man — that is, any man who was not truly God. We have many good reasons to believe that Jesus was indeed God: His unequaled life; His unmatched teaching; His resurrection from the dead, attested to by over 500 witnesses; and millions of changed lives. But make no mistake: verses like these clearly show that Jesus did indeed make the claim that He was not merely a man, but God, who walked and taught in these pages of the New Testament.
It is just as C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:
Either this man was and is the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity, Chapter 3, p. 56)