Scripture tells of a time that Jesus spoke to a crowd about the difference between the life they were living and the life God wanted them to live. But I want to talk about what happened after Jesus ended this talk. According to Matthew 7:28-29, “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Authority? What are they talking about? And Scribes, why didn’t they have this authority?
Authority gives someone the right to enforce a law, rule, or custom. Authority gives you the right to make decisions, to command compliance, or to enforce corrections when needed. Authority is simple. It justifies and makes legitimate the actions you take with someone who may be in violation of an authority. The authority to do means there must be an authority that was violated. That is not the type of authority the people were referring to here with Jesus.
And the Scribes. Who were they? Scribes were common people who had knowledge of the law and customs. They could draft legal documents like contracts for marriage, divorce, loans, inheritance, mortgages, the sale of land, and things like that. But they were not the law themselves. They were trained to know a lot about many things. They were authorities in knowing about things, but they had no authority to enforce compliance with anything. They were teachers teaching about things they had learned.
So then, just how is Jesus different from both the law and how the law is taught? In Mark 3:4, Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” The Pharisees didn’t answer Him because to respond would have weakened the power they enjoyed by being the authority over enforcing compliance with the Sabbath law. My sense tells me its never lawful to do evil, not on Sabbath or on any other day. And it is never lawful to kill anyone, not on Sabbath or on any other day.
Jesus is saying, we don’t need to have authority to do what is right or to be what He calls us to be.
Back then as now, scribes needed the backing of authority to teach about the things they knew. But Jesus came to personify the things that the scribes taught about. He needed no authority to be Jesus. He needed no authority to do good because He is good. He needed no authority to work on Sabbath because He is the Sabbath. And like that, we need no authority to Be the persons God calls us to be. We don’t need authority to love someone; we can just be love. We don’t need authority to forgive someone; we can just be forgiving.
We don’t need authority to be kind, patient, longsuffering, good, or anything that God wants us to Be. We need only to allow Him to make us these things. When you do this, you will be able to stop living a life that needs the authority of someone else to make the things you do be the right things. A life with Christ is not supposed to be a life where an unchanged you has learned about the things of God.
The things of God should transform your life from one of doing to one of being. Then you will go from having to do things under the authority of something or someone to living life having God’s authority to Be the person He wants you to be. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.