(For Leap Year -- or a bonus in other years :~)



February 29

Text: Matthew 7:28, 29

 The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. (NASB)

“He is different!”  There is a good different and a bad different.  Narrow your, “He is different!” reaction to teachers.  The “good different” is the different that says, “He is worth listening to because he is not like everyone else we hear.  He is stimulating and challenging.  He addresses reality.  He is different!”  The “bad different” is the different that says, “What he says is radical!  I find him to be opinionated and offensive.  I would not recommend that anyone listen to him.  He is different!”

The reaction to Jesus as a teacher in what we call the Sermon on the Mount was, “He is different!” Was that a “good different” or a “bad different” reaction?  Because people forever act like people, likely both.  To the religious who enjoyed insights that (1) challenged the status quo and (2) addressed reality, it was likely a “good different.”  To the religious who never wished to challenge the status quo by addressing “new” views or dealing with the reality of “now” matters, it was likely a “bad different.”  Of course, there would be the religiously indifferent group who said, “So what?  Big deal!”

How was Jesus different?  In Israel 2000 years ago, the concept of religion was much broader than today’s concept—it tended to be all inclusive.  Most discussions cited a sequence of previous authorities to prove the point advocated.  Thus, they would say, “Rabbi so-and-so said . . .  And Rabbi so-and-so said . . .  And Rabbi so-and-so said . . .” etc.  NEVER would any knowledgeable Israelite seek to declare a point by saying, “I say to you . . .”   To claim personal authority was most improper!

Jesus’ teachings amazed them because he taught as though he possessed authority.  A courageous way to teach!

Suggestion for reflection: What about Jesus’ teachings impresses you?  (Read John 7:45, 46.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell