28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
“Authority” the very word according to the Oxford Dictionary means: “the power or right to enforce obedience; an influence exerted on opinion because of recognized knowledge or expertise.” The word translated “authority” in verse 29 above is from the Greek word “Exousia” meaning “it is permissible, allowed; permission, authority to do something; denotes not only the physical capability to do something, but also the right and authority to carry out the action; the right or privilege to do or not to do something; the license or liberty to do or not to do something.” Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible – New Testament Lexical Aids.
“If He be God, there can be no limit to His power. Come then with the blind eye of darkened understanding, come with the limping foot of wasted energy, come with the maimed hand of weak faith, the fever of an angry temper, or the ague of shivering despondency, come just as thou art, for He who is God can certainly restore thee of thy plague. None shall restrain the healing virtue which proceeds from Jesus our Lord.” Charles H. Spurgeon
It is no wonder the crowds were amazed at our Lord’s teaching. Their ears were used to hearing their Pharisaical teachers of the Law who were a mere reflection of authority – and not a very good one at that. Contrast Jesus Who was and is ultimate Authority as He is very God of very God - possessing all power. It is the difference between shadow and Substance – one a mere reflection, One the Real Deal - if you permit me to state it in that way – and this difference was extremely obvious to His hearers. Their teachers were a mere pretense – unable to fulfill what they preached. The words they taught fell flat as they came sans life or force as one whom but recites a memorized passage monotone. Yet Christ, Who spoke the world into being, when teaching speaks a Word of command as a judge gives forth his charge.
“The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations – it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.” Oswald Chambers
Matthew used the expression “amazed” four other times in his Gospel meaning “overwhelmed, suggesting a strong sense of being astounded”. Basically, our Lord continuously blew His hearers out of the water whenever He taught or opened His mouth for that matter. His Words were current, electrifying His audiences. Again, He spoke with authority because He was and is the ultimate Authority. There is no real power apart from Jesus. Scripture tells us without Him we can do nothing of eternal value but with Him, He confers our success. His presence is the believer’s power. In Him is unaided omnipotence:
4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 (NIV)
I am reminded of our Lord’s parting Words to His disciplesis di in the Great Commission given later in Matthew reminding them that they were to go in His power and authority to disciple the world for Christ – these words are for us as well:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:18-20 (NIV)
“Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That He is everlasting, should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That He is un-changing, should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour. That He is full of grace, that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory – all this should tend to make us glad in Him. This gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy.” Charles H. Spurgeon
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Col 1:15-20 (NIV)