The chapel was filled to overflowing. We had come to hear a well-known scholar lecture on Martin Luther. I had to sit on the floor in a hallway outside the main hall, crowded together with other latecomers. The floor was hard. I made a note for myself, “Get here earlier next time.”

When he finished his lecture an hour and a half later, I was disappointed it had ended. His talk had been breathtaking. It was as if he had lived through the events of Luther’s life, seeing what he saw and walking by his side all the way.

That’s what happened in today’s verse, only even more so. Jesus finished and the crowds were “amazed at his teaching.” The original language uses a strong word that means overwhelmed.

His teaching, Matthew told us, was “not as their teachers of the law.” No, they had never heard anyone speak like this before. What was it that moved them so deeply?

It was because Jesus taught as “one who had authority.” The exact words are important. It’s not that He was a better teacher, even though He was. And it’s not that He had a deeper knowledge, although He did. His teaching had authority because He was the authority come to live among us.

As he ended his teaching, Jesus promised that everyone who hears and builds a life on His words will never be overcome. That’s the promise of “one who had authority.”

It’s a promise you can build a life on.

Jesus, I want to live on the certain authority of your words in times of blessing and trouble. I trust in you. Amen.

Go Deeper — Is there a teaching of Jesus that has particular meaning for you? Think about it often. You can trust that it is true and worthy of full confidence.

Read Further — Read this short article that explains how Jesus has impacted the world with His authority and truth.

Tags: Sermon on the Mount Matthew 7
Photo Credit: Taneli Lahtinen