Friday 26 August 2016

Bible Book:

“Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” (vv. 28-29)

Matthew 7:28-29 Friday 26 August 2016

Psalm: Psalm 142


These verses signal the end of this particular collection ofJesus' teachings. Matthew used very similar phrases when he drewother collections of teachings to a conclusion (Matthew 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1).

This collection, known as the Sermon on the Mount, begins at Matthew 5:1, where we read that "when Jesus sawthe crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, hisdisciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them" (Matthew 5:1-2). The Gospel records that thecrowds who came to hear Jesus were drawn from a wide area - fromJerusalem and Galilee, and from cities now in Jordan and Syria (Matthew 4:25). Small wonder that theauthorities were to become concerned. A crowd draws a crowd, sothere were undoubtedly present those who were believers and thosewho were merely curious; those who were seeking to revitalise theirfaith and those who were deeply suspicious of this young teacherfrom Galilee. And they are astonished by what they hear. Why shouldthis be?

Those listening to Jesus would have been accustomed to theteachers of the law. It was their business precisely to teach whatwas required by the law, thus they consistently referred to the lawand to the prophets. And the prophets themselves consistentlyreferred to God - "Thus says the Lord ..." (for example). However,the crowd could see that Jesus was different, he taught by his ownauthority. During this series of teachings Jesus said, "You haveheard … but Isay to you …" (Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43). Here was onespeaking with the authority of God the Son.

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that hewas not in the business of abolishing teaching of the law and theprophets; his concern was that the spirit rather than the letter ofthe law should be observed (Matthew 5:17-20). This necessitated aconversion of heart in his hearers so that they would be nothearers only but doers.

To Ponder

  • What does authority mean to you? How easy do you find it todiscern between authentic authority and authority which is only'second-hand'?
  • Take time to read the whole of the Sermon on the Mount (again).What challenges you most about its teaching?
Previous Page Thursday 25 August 2016
Next Page Saturday 27 August 2016