“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
(Matthew 7:28-29 NIV)
You’re probably thinking, “How much longer can he drag out this Sermon on the Mount series??”
Today is the last posting to close out Matthew chapter 7. Thanks for bearing with me.
This is like the closing credits on the movies, right? Nobody really cares. But yet, Matthew adds a bit of personal commentary and insight into the reaction from the multitudes who were overhearing as Jesus taught His disciples.
It’s also noteworthy that Matthew records similar words, “When Jesus had finished saying these things…”, after each of the five blocks of teaching (Matthew 7:28, 11:1, 13:53, 19:1, 26:1). Matthew continues to be amazed by Jesus’ teaching, and uses this same phrase as a reminder and reference back to the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew records, “… because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
The Jewish teachers of Jesus’ day did not venture far from ancient rabbinical traditions. In fact, the Jewish teachers parroted the teachings they had learned from their teachers. They had the words, even memorized them, but lacked any real power to change lives and transform hearts. They moved away from God’s original vision to use the Jewish people to show the rest of the world what God is like, to a set of rules to obey and use to judge one another in self-righteousness.
But Jesus comes and breathes life back into God’s Law, and teaches with authority and power and depth. So much that it turns the world upside down and changes history.
It is fitting that Matthew closes his Gospel by citing Jesus’ proclamation of His authority, and His command to His disciples (and to us):
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teachingthem to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ”
(Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
Not only did Jesus proclaim His authority, but he also commissioned His disciples (and us) to take His message to the ends of the earth. And He promises to go with us, every step of the way.
He changes our hearts, as we let Him.
He loves us, so we can love others.
He instructs us, so we can instruct others.
He gently corrects us, so we can gently correct others.
He teaches us about God and about Himself, so we can tell others.
He lives in obedience to the Father, so we see His example and live in obedience to Him.
He empowers us with new life, so we can live His glory out in praise to Him, and as a light to others.
May you be encouraged by God’s Word as we conclude this Sermon on the Mount series.
What truths has the Lord blessed you with during this study, that you can share with others?