Radical Response

I greatly appreciate my pastor. His preachings are biblical and true. He has wisdom and integrity. His teachings convict me and lead me to live the life God has called me to live. But he does have this flaw: he’s not Jesus. He can’t teach with the authority that Jesus did. While his words and messages mean so much, they cannot mean as much as the red letters in the bible because he cannot live out perfectly what they say. He is good, but only because God made him so. He is not God himself.

In this conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not speaking. It is the people’s reaction to his teaching. While in this life many will likely not hear the verbal voice of God, we can read and see the true authority and power of his ever so relevant words.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teachings, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Matthew 7:28-29

My pastor must have biblical references to validate his teachings. The same is true of the teachers back in the day of Jesus. The same is true of me and my blog posts. For any mere human to teach what is true and eternal, we must have biblical backing. Sometimes to offer another form of credibility, we quote another great person who also had to quote the bible to give their words any kind of weight. Anything taught solely based on our personal knowledge and stacked against our own character is flawed and prone to crumble.

But here’s the beautiful thing: Jesus is nothing like any other teacher, pastor, writer, evangelist, or leader out there. Jesus speaks with authority simple because of who he is.

I love the way the Expositor’s Bible Commentary put the reaction to the Sermon: “the central point is this: Jesus’ entire approach in the Sermon on the Mount is not only ethical but messianic. He is not an ordinary prophet who says, “Thus says the Lord!” Rather he speaks in the first person and claims that his teaching fulfills the OT; that he determines who enters the messianic kingdom; that as the Divine Judge he pronounces banishment; that true heirs of the kingdom will be persecuted for their allegiance to him; and that he alone fully knows the will of his Father.”

Jesus did reference the Prophets and the Law when teaching, and he also fulfilled them. He didn’t need to quote another teacher of his time because he is the greatest teacher of all time. Because of who he is, part of the Trinity, God himself, his teachings hold weight and significance. The words of Jesus are powerful and life changing.

A million sermons from the best pastors will not compare to you yourself reading the words of God. And you can read my entire blog, but it will not make the same impact that studying the Sermon on the Mount for yourself would. I believe we need to go to church and hear the word of God spoken by others. And clearly I’m for extracurricular study of biblical truths in the form of blogpost, books, or podcasts. But nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, can compare to personal study of the bible. Mere men can miscommunicate, but God is always clear.

If you want to read life changing words that contain true authority and power, don’t look to anyone but Jesus and the written word of God. God has blessed vessel like my pastor and myself to hopefully convey his word to others, but human teachings was never intended to replace Christ’s teachings. While this series has now come to an end, the power in Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount will never end. Dive into the bible and see for yourself the authority and power of the words of God.

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