The Distinguishing Feature of Christ's Teaching
Matthew 7:29
For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

As a rule, the scribe hardly ever gave his exposition without at least beginning by what had been said by Hillel or Shammai, by Rabbi Joseph or Rabbi Meir, depending almost or altogether upon what had thus been ruled before, as much as an English lawyer depends upon his precedents. Geikie mentions one of the rabbis who "boasted that every verse of the Bible was capable of six hundred thousand different interpretations." But on such principles who could hope to know or find the truth? To venture on originality and independence in teaching was something hitherto unknown; and the difference between the method of Jesus and the method of the scribes forcibly impressed the people. The point which may be profitably opened, illustrated, and impressed is the difference in power exerted by those who must be classed under the term "scribe," and, those who may be classed along with the Lord Jesus. And all our teachers, in home, school, church, society, literature, will thus divide.

I. THE POWER OF THE SCRIBE-LIKE TEACHER. A very small power. Such men often do more harm than good by their pettiness, narrow limitations, quibbles, interest in trifles, and uncertainties of mere verbal interpretation. They are always seriously affected by the prejudices of the schools to which they belong. They find it impossible to grasp or to apply great, comprehensive principles. Such are dangerous teachers still.

II. THE POWER OF THE CHRIST-LIKE TEACHER. NO doubt Christ had an authority arising from his office which was unique; but we can recognize also an authority in respect of which we may be like him. He was strong in unquestioning, unwavering, convictions of the truth. That is the kind of authority that is still needed. Prophet-like authority. The age needs men, like Christ, who can speak with the "accent of conviction." Our fellow-men - and we ourselves - are always best helped by those who hold truth with a great grasp of faith, and have no quavering in their voice as they speak to us the message of God. They are not stubborn men, but believing men. What they say to us is this, "I believe; therefore have I spoken." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

WEB: for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.

Divine Audacity
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