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)
“Authority.” The very word according to the Oxford Dictionary means:
-Charles H. Spurgeon
“the power or right to enforce obedience; an influence exerted on opinion because of recognized knowledge or expertise.” The word translated “authority” in verse 29 above is from the Greek word exousia meaning: “it is permissible, allowed; permission, authority to do something; denotes not only the physical capability to do something, but also the right and authority to carry out the action; the right or privilege to do or not to do something; the license or liberty to do or not to do something.” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible–New Testament Lexical Aids)
It is no wonder the crowds were amazed at our Lord’s teaching. Their ears were used to listening to the Pharisaical teachers of the Law who were a mere reflection of authority–and not a very good one at that. Jesus was and is the ultimate authority. He is very God of very God. He possesses all power and knowledge. It is difference comparison of shadow and substance–one a mere reflection, one the “real deal.” And this difference was extremely obvious to His hearers! Their teachers were a mere pretense, unable to fulfill what they preached. The words they taught fell flat as they came without life or force. The Pharisees were reciting a memorized passage. Jesus, who spoke the world into being, spoke with authority as a judge gives forth his charge.
Matthew used the expression “amazed” four other times in his Gospel. This word means:“overwhelmed, suggesting a strong sense of being astounded.” Jesus’ words overwhelmed His audiences! He spoke with authority because He was and is the ultimate Authority. There is no real power apart from Him. Scripture tells us without Him we can do nothing of eternal value but with Him, He confers our success. His presence is the believer’s power. In Him is unaided omnipotence:
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
I am reminded of our Lord’s parting words to His disciples in the Great Commission given later in Matthew. He reminded them that they were to go in His power and authority to disciple the world:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Take It to Heart
Jesus selflessly came to earth as the fullness of God in bodily form to reconcile each one of us to God through His blood shed on the cross.
“Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That He is everlasting, should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That He is un-changing, should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour. That He is full of grace, that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory–all this should tend to make us glad in Him. This gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)