When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:28-29)
Let’s begin our week where the Sermon on the Mount ends. In these early days of Jesus’ ministry, the crowd reaction was amazement. Part of that was the contrast between the package and the contents. Jesus’ first impression was probably every bit the Nazareth carpenter: a muscular tradesman. And yet what he said sure sounded like the words of God. It’s an interesting double meaning in our English word “authority”: Jesus both had the power to say these things and he was their author. This was a massive upgrade from their “teachers of the law” who were just quoting old stuff, and thought themselves too busy learning to actually do anything. I think Jesus wants us to have authority, too — to write an amazingly original story of faith with our lives by doing what he said. It’s been said that when it comes to the life of Jesus, people don’t want an explanation, they want an example. Amaze people by being a fresh, new Jesus story today and this week. Yeah, you! Earn your own credibility.
Lord your desire is for your truth to be put immediately and enthusiastically into action by me. I don’t want to be an expert in what you said, but an active follower of what you did. Amen.