“They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” vs. 22
The scribes were the guardians of the Jewish law and for centuries had dedicated themselves to preserving and passing on the ancient texts. We might call them legal experts or lawyers, important leaders whose opinions mattered and who could be trusted to teach with integrity. Many of them were Pharisees and adhered to a strict observance of the law. There’s a good chance that they taught regularly in the synagogue in Capernaum. But when Jesus came to town and was invited to teach, the people noticed a marked difference. Jesus didn’t present the usual interpretations of the law–what they heard from him was something different. The difference was more a matter of style as opposed to content. Jesus wasn’t advocating the abandonment of Moses, but he spoke in the manner of the prophets–those who had brought a direct word from God to the people. When he spoke, it was as though they were hearing the voice of the Lord! It’s no wonder then that the congregation was astounded. Some of us know the experience. We’ve heard such speakers, preachers who don’t just interpret texts or present personal opinions, but who proclaim the gospel with conviction and authority. We may not always agree with what has been said…but we don’t forget the experience. The words are not boring, but bore into our hearts…and may even change our minds.
Thought for the Day: Who has taught me with authority?