Until now we have taken a chronological approach to the life of Jesus. For the next several lessons, we will take more of a topical approach, analyzing his teaching, miracles, and some major events. Near the end of our study, we will go back to a chronological approach as we study the Lord’s last days on earth.
- Just a few months before his death, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, “went up into the temple and began teaching” (John 7:14). The content of this teaching is not revealed.
- John records the response of the crowd: “The Jews therefore marveled, saying, ‘How is it that his man has learning, when he has never studied?’” (15).
- They can’t figure out how Jesus has come to know so much since he had not been formally trained. Many seemed to know that Jesus had been raised as a carpenter (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). He had not been to rabbinical school.
- Jesus answered their question, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (John 7:16).
- Their amazement at his teaching led to speculation about his identity (25-27). Some asked, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” (31).
- When the Pharisees heard the chatter, they wanted to put a stop to it, so they marshaled a unit of officers to arrest Jesus (32). But before they apprehended him, they listened to him: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink…” (37).
- The discussion among the people continued, with some claiming that Jesus was “the prophet” (40; cf. Deut. 18:15-19), and others, “the Christ” (41). There was no consensus, only division (43).
- The empty-handed officers return to face the anger of their bosses (45). Their explanation of their failure to bring Jesus was, “No one ever spoke like this man” (46).
MATTHEW 7:28-29; MARK 1:22; LUKE 4:32
- Matthew 7:28 reveals the impact of the Sermon on the Mount. “When Jesus had finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching…”
- Verse 29 states the reason for such astonishment. “…for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”
- The scribes and Pharisees in the days of Jesus took pride in lining up behind their favorite rabbis. Their teaching of the Law was saturated in quotations from other teachers.
- To depart from the established orthodoxy of the past was practically unheard of.
- Josephus wrote of the Pharisees, “They also pay a respect to such as are in years; nor are they so bold as to contradict them in anything which they have introduced” (Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.3).
- In other words, they felt that it was not their place (or anyone else’s) to contradict the conclusions of their mentors.
- So, when Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said…but I say to you” (Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44), it blew their minds.
- What was it about the Lord’s teaching that blew people away? I believe it included both his content and methodology. We will explore both in coming lessons.