Lesson 6 – Speaking With Authority

Speaking With Authority

Scripture:  Matthew 7:28, 29.


The aim of this final lesson is to appreciate Jesus Christ as the teacher of life.  We can appreciate the amazement of the multitudes taught by Jesus in Israel after our study of His sermon Matthew organized in his gospel.   We too, are astonished at the insight Jesus had about life.  However, we should not really be amazed.  We would expect a person who invented a machine would be able to speak with authority about the operation and performance of the unit.  This world was created through Jesus Christ.  He was there with God and it was through Him and for Him all things were created.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by him all things consist.  Colossians 1:15-17

Having Jesus Christ as our teacher about life is comparable to having Henry Ford or Ratan Tata as our automobile mechanic.  How were the teachings of Jesus different from the Jewish scribes?  It would be the same difference that we have today between the teachings of Jesus and religious philosophers.  When teachers and preachers speak of life without a working knowledge of the law of life in the new covenant they must appeal to past experience and the charisma of their presentation.  They must present their predictions with an element of error.  Their teachings will change from generation to generation.  They are shaped by cultural norms.

There is no room for change or error in the teachings of Jesus because He speaks of happiness and eternal destiny.  Everything is exact and complete because His teaching fits the how and why we were created.  The only decision left for His disciples is to develop His teaching into themselves.  He assures us it will work and it does.  The audience on the mount was amazed because Jesus told them to “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  It is a challenge that has plausibility because our spirits came from God.

This goal for achievement is quite different from “Do your own thing” or “Be your own self.”  In our pleasure driven society some peoples’ highest goals are to accomplish such noble feats as hitting a little round thing, called a ball, over a fence.  Some try to put it in a hole in the ground and others toss it through a circle.  Of course, there is also the more aggressive group who do not want to put it in a hole at all.  They take this oblong round thing in their arms and run over several other people to cross a chalk line.  Sports are worthwhile exercises but hardly worthy of becoming life goals.  Considering the devotion given to a ball game, it is amazing that Jesus did not spend more of His time teaching us how to get that little round thing where it belongs, but He didn’t.

Young people, and some people not so young, are extremely devoted to the latest fashions.  The latest fashion is accepted as the way to dress even if it involves wearing very little or no clothing at all.  Jesus was not a role model for fashion; however, He did ask us to question our motives for everything we do.  What is the motive behind this desire to be fashionable?  Is it to be seen?  Much of what is “fashion in the brief” is not only designed to cause women to be seen of men, it is designed to cause men to lust for the body in that fashionable robe.  Jesus said it would be better for people if they would “tear out an eye” rather than to look upon another person lustfully.  Did Jesus speak with authority on this matter or was He just an “old fogy?”  Actually, He did not want to see a young lady’s healthy desire for a husband and family or a young man’s normal sex drive turned into an animal act of adultery.

Jesus astonished His audience, just as people are astonished today, when we learn that it is more important to maintain and stimulate love than to preserve our own rights and pride of life.  We may have been amazed when we found out that we are in danger of becoming murderers when we put people into certain categories.  Casting people as “raca,” or fool, is more dangerous than fits of anger.  Jesus is amazing because He understands why people do what they do, even though they may not know.

How many would willfully bow in worship to God “to be seen of man?”  Consciously, very few, and yet Jesus knew most of us have this problem.  He wants us to get all of the rewards from God that are available.  He told us how to get them in our various practices of righteousness.  God is our only audience.  He is our banker for our treasures in heaven.  We know these things but it is amazing how many keep trying to serve two masters and maintain two storehouses for their treasures.

Jesus also astonished His audience by contrasting the glory of the art collections of man against God’s own handiwork of nature.  In His judgment of glorious things, God’s lilies won first place over that of kings, even King Solomon’s collection of stuff.

Jesus offered us food, clothing and shelter but not based on the economy, good management, or proper climate.  His offer was based on a simple act of our faith.   Make God’s kingdom and His righteousness first in our lives is all He asked.  God offered His care in a straight forward and simple manner and yet people all over the world go without the necessities of daily life.

It was not man who offered the “golden rule” as a way to get along with others.  Jesus offered this amazing advice.  Men have been following leaders who do not produce what they promise since the world began.  It was Jesus who suggested we check the fruits of “would be” leader’s lives before following them very far.

The Day of Judgment will be a day of much astonishment.  Just imagine walking before Jesus as a Christian and hearing Him say, “Depart, I never knew you.”  We can spare ourselves this astonishment by doing the will of God now.

The Sermon on the Mount has amazed people of every generation.  Bits and pieces of it have been found incorporated into the lives of people.  Some have doubted it to be workable, others memorized it, and some made plaques for their walls.  The real power comes from making it our own life.  It is life.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.  John 6:63

Jesus has given us an amazing challenge to be everything we want to be.  He gave us the attitudes of a happy man.  He also gave us the list of astonishing rewards that come with these attitudes.  He spoke with the authority His Father gave Him.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How can we share the amazement of those who heard Jesus’ sermons in Israel?
  2. Why should we expect Jesus to be an authority on life?
  3. How were the teachings of Jesus different from the scribes and teachers in Israel?
  4. What do teachers in the church need to learn before they speak of life?
  5. List some of the goals developed by people in the world for satisfying their needs to achieve.
  6. Why might Jesus speak of motives in regard to your list?
  7. List laws of the spirit of life in the Sermon on the Mount that would amaze people in the world realm.
  8. Why might the Day of Judgment be one of much astonishment to some very religious people?

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