Read: Matthew 7:28, 29
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28, 29 ESV)
At the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount the people were astonished. Many theologians estimate the number of people in the crowd to have been around 20,000 people. They had just heard Jesus teach on a wealth of subjects.
He had challenged many of their previous assumptions. He had moved them beyond their blind obedience of the Pharisaic rules. He had called them to true repentance, a life of fruit, and a close walk with the Father. He had taught them to do good for the sake of doing good, to pray in earnest, and to pursue the Kingdom of God. The crowds listened.
He captivated them, not just because he was a great communicator, which I’m sure he was, but he had their heartfelt attention because he possessed authority. He could speak into each of those situations because he had experiential knowledge. He knew what he was talking about. He didn’t second guess himself. He didn’t cover his tracks by brandishing the heavy handed doctrines of men. He spoke with authority.
In the not so infrequent moments when my faith is sometimes tough to wrestle with, whether it be emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually, I find the authority of Jesus a steadfast reassurance. That he experienced, taught, lived, and even passed on some representation of his authority is humbling. We who would call ourselves followers of Christ have a lot to live up to. Fortunately we have the final there to enable us along the way.