And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
What made Jesus’ teaching astonishing and different from the Scribes?
The Scribes were men learned in the Mosaic Law and in the sacred writings, interpreters and teachers. They were also the ones who painstakingly copied the Law. Their style of teaching was to expound the Law based on the authority of Rabbi so and so who said such and such. They traced their message back to the exact letter of the Law.
Jesus’ teaching surely stood in contrast because He spoke from His own authority and claiming His own authority. He did not just “interpret the Scripture”, He claimed to the “fulfillment of the Scripture.”
- Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Mt. 5:17
- …but I say to you…
- Therefore I tell you…
- “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Mt. 7:12
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Mt. 7:21
- Everyone then who hears these words of mine Mt.7:24
You might think their reaction would be to run him out of town for these wild and unusual claims but the crowds were not angry. They were astonished.
Rather than rejecting his claims of authority, they affirmed it by their amazement.
I have to say, I know what it is to be amazed at the power and authority and comfort of the Scriptures. Even the hard words. Even the impossible words.
There are words and then there are words spoken by the Living Word – no contest!