I had no idea how long this series on ‘The sermon on the mount’ would take. I knew I wanted to take a long time and look at almost every verse in turn. It is such rich and amazing teaching.
This last post isn’t about the sermon at all but an appreciation of the amazing man who preached it. I am not at all surprised at His hearer’s astonishment. They had not quite grasped just how special He was, but they could certainly tell He was very different to the other religious leaders that they had heard. They just repeated stories from each other and nothing was original. Jesus’ message was radically different, but it wasn’t just the message that they were impressed with but the authority with which the message was communicated.
So what made Jesus’s message more authoritative than all the others? What sort of authority did Jesus have? Let’s consider a few points;
- He had authority because He was actually interpreting and defining scripture. On more than one occasion He said, “You have heard that it was said…. But I say to you.” This is where for example he speaks about adultery as not just the physical act but an attitude of the heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
- His authority was given to Him by God the father
Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (John 17:1-2)
- He had authority by virtue of the fact that He did the father’s will perfectly.
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:4)
- He had authority because He was the creator of all things
All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:3)
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
- As creator He can say what He wants. Remember He even spoke to the elements and they obeyed Him
And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:27)
Also Mark 4:41
- He had authority because He was the heir of all things
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:2)
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalm 2:8)
- He was worshipped by angels
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,“Let all God’s angels worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6)
- He was recognised and obeyed by demons
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (Mark 1:25-27)
- He had authority because He was able to back up what He was saying with signs and wonders
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. (Mark 16:20)
I would have loved to have listened to Jesus preaching, although I get the feeling we may get some more in the age to come when He further explains all that He has done. We will have (and will probably need) all of eternity to begin to understand the wonder of it.
I really enjoy good preaching and love having the bible explained to me. There are many excellent preachers around the world today, but they are all flawed in some way or another. Jesus preached the perfect sermon in a perfect way. He was not bothered in the slightest who He would offend. He was never worried whether He had got it right (He knew that He had). He never worried that He might not be accepted. I can’t imagine him taking Peter aside after He preached ‘The sermon on the mount’ and asking him “How do you think that went down? He was supremely confident because He knew and understood the scriptures perfectly. He would certainly have memorised them as demonstrated in the wilderness when He quoted scripture to every temptation from Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). He preached the pure, unadulterated message of God and He did it not to please man, but purely to please the father. No wonder the people were astonished.