The Authority of the Word
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28–29, ESV)
As we finish reading Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew tells us that the crowds were amazed at his teaching. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be there to hear Jesus preach this sermon that afternoon. His teachings were so different than the normal teachings of the rabbis of that day. The rabbis taught the letter of the Law while Jesus teaches the spirit of the Law.
We have to admit that the letter of the law is difficult to keep but when we hear the spirit of the Law our jaws drop with how impossible it is for us in our fallen condition to even come close to fulfilling the requirements of the Law. Hating is tantamount to murder, thinking lustful thoughts about a woman is the same as adultery, being judged by the same judgment that you use, these are just a few of the concepts that Jesus brings forth that day.
The rabbis of that day just spoke about how they interpreted what the Scriptures said but Jesus who has full authority who is the Word speaks with power as the final Word in any type of argument against what the Law truly means.
It’s easy to recognize someone in authority isn’t it? A lot of people are saying we have a new sheriff in town when it comes to politics. The president of the United States has authority to do various things and when he exercises that authority many times there are people who will try to push back and take authority into their own hands. This does not just happen in politics but can happen in the corporate world or even in our own neighborhoods where we have HOA’s.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day certainly pushed back against his authority and threatened him quite often because they felt their way was authoritative and he was an usurper. The Roman government had the authority to dole out capital punishment, which they did, against Jesus at the behest of the religious authority of Judaism. They may have had the authority that moment but when Judgment Day comes and Jesus sits on his thrown to judge the nations it will be crystal clear to everyone who has authority and there will be no questioning of that or wavering in the face of that authority.
How wonderful it is to have a Lord and Savior who has authority over all creation. He even has authority over death itself and the proof of that authority was Easter Sunday as the tomb was empty and Jesus was alive and well. It is best that we heed not only the Sermon on the Mount but all of his other teachings as authoritative and extremely important.
Have a Blessed Easter knowing that the Word gets the final word on Easter Sunday and all the days leading up to Judgment Day and when we stand before the throne and claim to be not guilty because of the blood of the Lamb, we will hear our master beckon us to come into his kingdom for our eternal rest.
God Bless, Pastor Todd