August 24, 2020
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 (Matthew 7:28-29).
We all have our favorite pastor/teachers. We listen to them and talk to others about them because they are able to speak to us in a way that ‘connects’ with who we are and where we’re at in life. Two of my favorite pastor/teachers are John MacArthur and Charles Stanley. You may like Ravi Zacharias, David Jeremiah, J. Vernon McGee, R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, Albert Mohler, Rick Warren, or another person who is solid in the Word of God and in the Christian faith.
While the scholarly ability of John MacArthur appeals to my intellect, the interpretive ability of Charles Stanley appeals to my life. I don’t rank one over the other, I appreciate them both in tandem.
As Jesus taught the people they were spell-bound. When Jesus finished the Sermon the people were ‘astonished’, which actually means ‘struck out of themselves’. Have you ever had that kind of experience? I heard Ian Thomas speak at a pastor’s conference 30 years ago. He spoke for 2 hours on the word ‘atonement’. I sat spell-bound. The 2 hours passed like 10 minutes. I wasn’t even aware of what was going on around me, I was so focused on his words.
The Pharisees spoke from the traditional interpretation of the Mosaic Law (not from the Law itself, but from their interpretation of it). The Scribes often cited authorities in order to lend credence to their teachings. But Jesus was different. He spoke on His own authority as the Son of God and the Messiah of Israel (note His, “I say to you” in 5:20,22,26,28,32).
The Scribes and Pharisees spent much of their time haggling and arguing over interpretations of the Mosaic Law and their traditions. Jesus, on the other hand, was open, plain, serious, useful, and personal in speaking God’s truth. He got right to the point and didn’t add a bunch of ‘travelogue’ in His teaching. More importantly, He made application of God’s truth as each point was stressed. He demonstrated His authority in clearly stating, explaining, and enforcing the Word of God that had been covered up, set aside, or completely ignored by the Rabbis. There was nothing left to the imagination in the teaching of Jesus - no debate, no doubt, no further discussion.
“Lord Jesus, Your word is truth. There’s power in Your word. Thank You for the ministry of teaching that was such a big part of Your work here on earth. Thank You for preserving Your word down through the ages so that we have that record with us today. Guide me, Holy Spirit, to understand those truths contained in Scripture that I might continue to share it with others. To the praise and glory of Jesus Christ I ask, Amen.”