Today's Reading - Matthew 6-7
Let’s start at the end. Matthew 7: 28-29
“28 When Jesus had finished saying these things,
the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
29 because he taught as one who had authority,
and not as their teachers of the law.”
If the person sitting across from you knew your history—your REAL history, rather than the stories you think are clean enough to repeat—would their conversation be any more appealing to you? Would you find their perspective interesting? Or maybe unnerving? I don’t know if the gathered crowd and disciples had caught on yet, but Jesus knew each of them through-and-through.
In Jewish tradition, the teachers (scribes & rabbis) which the crowds were used to would have taught with the method of repetition; reciting memorized scripture and quoting well-respected, and likely deceased, rabbis. It probably was a very dry lecture. The weight of the typical rabbi’s teaching came from the authority of those before him; never his own. But Jesus…he wasn’t quoting anyone’s teaching. In fact, the original Greek phrase in this verse [ecousian echon = NIV translated “as one who had authority”] coveys to us through the verb tense that the authority that Christ (“echon”) was having or possessing was continually happening in the present—it did not end. And the “ecousian” of Christ is a power, or authority, described better in English as the RIGHT to exercise power (Vines Bible Commentary & Strong’s Concordance). You might even say he taught as one who always has had the right, and will always have the right to.
Listening to the words of one you know has the right to “butt-in” has a different feel, doesn’t it? The crowds could hear and feel that they weren’t in just any class session, they were with the One who made the narrow gate. Perhaps read Matthew 6 & 7 with a new set of eyes today.
What could Jesus be saying when he talks about the narrow gate (Mt 7:13-14) and true disciples (Mt 7:21-23)? How does this connect to Matthew 6’s topics of giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, etc?
How do I really feel about asking for something in prayer? How can I have within myself a bank vault of belief or trust in Christ?
Do I read the Red letters of Christ as authority or a good suggestion?
Ok, put down the Bible and go do it!