Read Matt 7:24-29
By the end of this sermon I would have preached 25 sermon from Matthew 5-7 (which I started roughly this time last year). So if you were to ask me: “why should I obey this sermon?” “Why should I give attention to the staggering and unsettling warning of verse 24-27 (and indeed 21-23)?” “Why should I put these words into practice?”
I could offer you the answer that they produce a good life, they are of the highest moral and ethical standards. But the reason that you really should is found in verse 28-29. They are important because of who said them. These last two verse direct our attention away from simply what was said (which is very important) to who said it. And there is something vital about the crowd’s response and how they perceived Jesus.
2. The crowd was astonished
This sermon had an effect on Jesus’ hears nothing like the effect that the other teachers of the day would have. There was essentially different about what he said and the way he say it. The term translated is closer to the English “dumbfounded”. Try and imagine their utter amazement as a carpenter, an artisan, and ordinary guy from the village starts to speak in a way you have never hear another human being speak.
3. Jesus taught with authority
You may have expected it to say because he taught with charisma, eloquence, structure, illustrations, insight. But the crowd did not identify any of these (although he may have had them), but rather for his authority.
Now it is not surprising that they perceived Jesus’ authority because it was an authority that he was well aware that he had. The traffic cop can stop a motor vehicle with his hand because he has confidence in the authority of the position he holds as a in the city. Interestingly, his authority is in his clothes! When in plain clothes he would not be as confident!
When I preach my confidence stems from the Bible being the Word of God (but I am still tentative when I know it is me who is interpreting it). Jesus had no such need – and it came across in the way that he preached!
A. Authority in his words/statements/language
The passage indicate that the hearers perceived something very distinct about the authority of this teaching in the Sermon. It was not that he was giving thought provoking or challenging teaching – there were many Rabbis who were eminent teachers in those days. What the hearers were picking up o was that he taught absolute truth – claiming that what he said was authoritative because he said it and for no other reason in particular.
The passage compares him to the way in which the teachers of the Law / scribes / Pharisees of those days would teach. They would follow a method that you could liken to what the Law Courts would call “case law”. Case law is the established precedent of how the law has historically been interpreted – Judges refer to these previous cases and make their own judgements (mostly) in keeping with them. So Rabbi Grant would establish the authority of his teaching by quoting Rabbi Billy Graham and Rabbi Max Lucado and Rabbi John Stott. A.B Bruce says they spoke “by authority” but Jesus spoke “with authority” (do you see what I just did there!).
Jesus did not have a scribal education and he did not endlessly quote and elaborate on some other long-death teacher of the Law. Nor say what the Old Testament prophets would say, “Thus says the Lord…” And then they would go on to give God’ revelation or message. Jesus says, “very truly I say to you…” or “I tell you…” or in the second half of chapter 5 Jesus says six time words to the effect, “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…” – the scribes and teachers of the law have been interpreting the Law of Moses to you thus… but here is the real truth.
So understand what these hearers were confronted with: the inherited traditions, the expounding of the Torah, and teachings of 1000s of years of Jewish history – but when they heard Jesus they realised that there was an inherent authority in HIM that he was able to speak like he did. To the extent that 7:24-27 says… (CAN SAY MORE HERE)
B. Authority in his purpose/mission
The people also realise that some of the things that he has said about himself reveal that he understands himself to be the Christ, the judge, the saviour, and the Son of God. Take for example:
Read Matt 5:17. Firstly he says, “I have come…” – he doesn’t mean… “from Nazareth”. He realises that his life has a specific purpose on earth – he has a mission to fulfil. He is the incarnate Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah of the world.
His purpose was to fulfil the law. The law was the commands and precepts of God – perfect, righteous and good. But for sinful humans beings they are impossible to fulfil. Jesus declared the authority of his mission when he says he will fulfil them all.
The Sermon on the Mount presents a teaching that is too heavy for us to bear. We fail, not just in action but in heart (think of lust verses adultery, anger versus murder). The sermon brings us into confrontation with ourselves and we are found wanting. It show us our need. And ONLY Jesus fulfilled it all. That is why he was the worthy sacrifice on our behalf on the cross. Read Romans 8:1-4.
HI purpose was also to fulfil the prophets. Jesus fulfils the themes, objects, promises, characters and teachings of the Old Testament. He is the pinnacle and culmination of all that God has said to his people up unto this point. God had been making himself known to his creation – and now Jesus is the culmination of this self-revelation. Read Hebrews 1:1-2.
- Do you have a foundation that is unseen to others? Has something happened deep in your heart by which you have responded to Christ? And is all the external life change as a result of that work? Because when we truly respond of Christ there is new life in us and it WILL produce fruit – it cannot not! There will be a meekness, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a purity of heart, a mourning over sin,
- Do the words of Jesus (still) astound you, leave you dumbfounded by their accuracy, power, and insight? One of the best ways to engage with Jesus is to engage with his Word. The fullness of the power of his word come home to us when we are reading and meditating on it regularly – perhaps this includes a devotional book or booklet, an annual reading program, journaling, prayer and reflection. Here is the thing: you do not really need to create the “astounded” effect. That is the effect it WILL have if we come to it with faith, openness and devotion. We will not meet black and white words on a page but the person behind the words – with all his grace, encouragement and power. At Home in the Word 2018/19
- Compare and contrast:
- the two houses,
- the two storms,
- the two men
- the two foundations
- The two results
- What lessons do you learn from each of the above?
- What was the point of what Jesus was trying to say?
- How does it relate to vs 21-23
- What do you think Jesus means by “wise” and “foolish”?
- Read Matt 5:17, Romans 8:1-4 and Hebrews 1:1-3
- How does this relate to Jesus fulfilling the law?
- How does this relate to Jesus fulfilling the prophecy?
- In what ways should Jesus speak with authority in our lives?
- What robs Jesus and his words of their authority in your life?
- What Bible reading method do you use? How does it work for you? Is there anything that could make it more profitable?