Read Matthew 5:1-7:29
“…the crowds were astonished at His teaching.” (7:28)
Jesus wasn’t the only teacher of His day. The crowds had heard others. They had endured the boring ones…perhaps pretending to take notes but actually doodling on their paper. They had been attentive to the interesting ones and, perhaps, enraged by the controversial ones.
But Jesus, when He taught, was in a class of His own. Jaws dropped, ears pricked, and time passed without notice. His teaching wasn’t like that of His contemporaries…full of footnotes and commentaries of what other rabbis had concluded. Neither was it filled with the long list of rules of conduct that characterized the teaching of the Pharisees. No, He
taught authoritatively. His, “you have heard that it was said…but I say to you” statements made clear that He was not standing in a long line of other interpreters who had drawn the same conclusion. Although His teaching was unique, it did not disregard what God had revealed in the Old Testament books. No, He promised to fulfill, not contradict or set aside, every single aspect of God’s word. And His teaching went beyond external behavior to address heart inclinations.
And so He taught…on mountaintops and in upper rooms. He taught while sitting in boats and while standing in fields. He taught individuals like the woman at the well, small groups like His disciples, and even crowds of thousands that gathered. He used parables, hyperbole, and everyday experiences to convey the ways of God.
When they heard His teaching, some were angered and others were amazed. Some went out and immediately did what He asked, while others stormed off and sought reasons to kill him. His teaching was polarizing.
But the marvels of the teaching of Jesus were never intended to be reserved to His lifetime. In the familiar lines of the Great Commission, there are nestled these often overlooked words, “Go…make disciples…baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:18-20 emphasis mine) Even in our day, the Rescuer’s teaching is to play a prominent role in the lives of His followers. We are to not only read it as you have likely done today. We are also to obey it…every part of it!