I shared yesterday over at our church blog that I am starting a new preaching series at our church this Sunday. We will continue a series through the book of Matthew as we enter a 12-week series on chapters 8-10. The theme I am going to highlight as we walk through this section of Scripture is the Authority of Jesus Christ. His ministry is in full swing and He flexes his muscles of authority for everyone to see.
As Matthew is progressing through his gospel, he spent chapters 5-7 on the Sermon on the Mount. This was the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher who ever lived. And we see that the people responded to his message in a very particular way.
"And when Jesus finished these saying, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes" (Matt. 7:28-29).
Jesus finishes the Sermon on the Mount and the people respond in awe to His teaching ministry. They know there is a distinct difference between Him and their normal teachers. His teaching was authoritative. William Hendriksen, in his commentary on Matthew, shares six ways in which Jesus' teaching was different from the teaching of the average scribes of the day.
- Jesus spoke with truth while the average scribe was marked with corrupt and evasive reasoning.
- Jesus presented matters of great significance, matters of life, death, and eternity while the average scribe wasted time on trivial matters.
- Jesus was systematic in his preaching while the average scribe rambled on and on.
- Jesus excited curiosity by making generous use of illustrations and examples while the average scribe was dry and boring.
- Jesus spoke out of a love for men while the average scribe lacked love for mankind.
- Jesus spoke with authority because His message came from the heart of the Father while the average scribe borrowed from fallible sources...other scribes.
If Hendriksen is correct, and I think he is, then there is no doubt why people were drawn to his authoritative message. But there is something else. When he steps off that mountain and begins to interact with people, Jesus acts with authority. He heals people. He calls people to action. He is authoritative over demons. He even is authoritative over death.
His authority is so much greater than anything else this world has ever seen for He is the Creator come to earth. This is what we see in Matthew 8-10 and is the reason why I am so excited for studying this section of Scripture with our church over the next several months. May we all fall on our knees at the King of all kings. May we humbly submit to the One who is the Lord of all lords.