28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
It is interesting to note that until this moment, the crowd saw the scribes as ones having authority; then Jesus comes in and delivers this teaching, which surpasses the scribes (remember what He said in Matthew 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees used the Scriptures to oppress the people; this is where they gained their social power. Yet Jesus used the scriptures to enlighten the people. This is the purpose of the Scriptures, to enlighten us about how we live and reveal to us the best way to live. The bible has been described as many things: a book of life principles, an allegory as to how we should live, a love letter from God, even an instruction manual for life. However you refer to it, it’s still the same thing: an explanation of how God created us to live and the consequences of not living according to His design.
One thing I love about the bible is that it always explains what will and won’t happen if we follow it. I have yet to find an example of that not being true. Jesus takes these simple things that the Jews had been living for hundreds of years and enlightened them that they no longer have to be oppressed by sinfulness, but can live in the fullness of life they were created to live! Sometimes we think “God screwed up” because man began to sin, but this isn’t the end of the story! He came to restore us and give us the same power and authority with which He taught this sermon. In John 17, we read Jesus’ priestly prayer to God the Father over His disciples just before He is crucified. He prays of this Godly authority and how He bestows it upon them and any other of His followers:
11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Jesus didn’t just come to earth with authority, He came and received it from the Father and then gave it to us! He restored the authority we once had over the world that was stolen from us by the devil when He convinced us to sin. This is an important principle to understand because when we sin, we hand over authority to him. By being sanctified and purified by Jesus, we are set free to reign with God’s authority over this earth. We are His ambassadors. We are His agents of change. We are His soldiers sent to take back land for His Kingdom and re-establish His reign on earth as it is in Heaven. Whose side are you on?