Matthew 7:28-29, a teacher with authority
7:28 It happened, when Jesus had finished saying these things, that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching,(Matt 7:28-29 WEB)
7:29 for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.
Not like the scribes
Jesus had gone up the mountain to teach his disciples, but then a crowd had evidently gathered, for Matthew’s Gospel concludes its account of the Sermon on the Mount by focusing on their reaction.
There were plenty of other rabbis around who had devoted a lifetime to studying the scriptures, yet Jesus’ teaching struck the crowd as different. He reminded them of the rewards for perseverance in loving God, he exposed God’s words as the bedrock they could trust, and then he unpacked its meaning, contrasting his understanding of the scriptures with traditional teaching. However, he did so as if he expected what he said to be acted on, i.e. as if he had the authority to make definitive rulings on the law. So here was a Rabbi who taught with an assured understanding of the law’s intent, and yet he was not simply reciting what the scriptures said or quoting the prevailing opinions of the scribes (the professional theologians of their day and the arbiters in matters of religious law). His message was radically different from theirs and this left the crowd astonished.
Had the crowd recognised who Jesus was, they might have appreciated just how privileged they were. For they had been privy to the king of the Kingdom of Heaven, as he educated his servants in its legislation. It was like sitting in the corner of a room where the highest judge in the land was training his future judiciary. The experience should have left them pondering one question above all others. If this man really had such authority, would they accept it in their own lives and return to the way of righteousness.
. . . commentary finishes here!