What does Matthew 12:6 mean? Is Jesus Christ referring to himself or 'something' else? I mean the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Matt 12:6 - But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
There are probably two referents in Jesus' comment in matt 12:6. The first is the Messianic prophecy in Hag 2:9 -
The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former, says the LORD of Hosts. And in this place I will provide peace, declares the LORD of Hosts.”
I believe that in Matt 12:6 Jesus also refers to His remark in John 2:19-21 -
Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” “This temple took forty-six years to build,” the Jews replied, “and You are going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of His body.
Thus, Jesus referring to Himself as noted by most commentators. Note the remarks of Ellicott -
The passage thus referred to furnishes obviously the true explanation of our Lord’s assertion of His greatness here, and spoken, as it probably was, to scribes from Jerusalem, may have been intended to remind them of it. The body of the Son of Man was the truest, highest temple of God, and the disciples who ministered to Him were entitled to at least the same privilege as the priests in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Meyer is more detailed in his reasoning:
Matthew 12:6. As in Matthew 12:3 f. Jesus had reasoned a majori (from the fact of David, when hungry, being allowed to eat the shew-bread) ad minus (to the fact of the hungry disciples being allowed to pluck the corn on the Sabbath), so in Matthew 12:5 He reasons a minori (viz. from the temple, where the Sabbath is subordinated to the sacrificial arrangements) ad majus, viz. to His own authority, which transcends the sanctity of the temple, and from acting under which the disciples might well be the less disposed to be bound to keep the Sabbath. The key to this argument is to be found in Matthew 12:6, which contains the minor proposition of the conclusion: what is allowable in the case of the servants of the temple, namely, to work on the Sabbath, must be conceded to the servants of Him who is greater than the temple; I am greater than the temple; therefore, and so on.