Today’s reading: Matthew chapter 7
Wow there is a LOT packed into this chapter! Interesting when I first began reading it I was jotting down notes and thoughts that seemed to be somewhat scattered, there were so many subjects I could focus on! It dawned on me then that it is easy to focus on the parts and wind up ignoring the message as a whole, so here is the key portion I believe does just that:
Vs. 28-29 “’When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (emphasis mine).
Have you ever thought about what the phrase “as one having authority” means, or what made Jesus stand out? How did Jesus express authority differently than the scribes expressed authority?
I came across a note in my reading of this recently that pointed to a study in the Jewish rabbinic interpretation that shows it was typical of the time for a scribe to cite a list of authorities whenever quoting or speaking, like a footnote or list of resources within a book. They pointed to someone else as having authority. Jesus, Creator of the universe and everything in it, had no need of borrowing authority or quoting from anyone. He was the author of it all (THE SOURCE doesn’t need a RESOURCE)!
In case you may be interested, here are a few of my scribbles on other verses throughout the chapter:
vs. 2 – We set our own standard of judgement
vs. 6 – Don’t give what is holy to dogs (or as The Message puts it, don’t be flip with the sacred). Tune in to what the Spirit is speaking, then you will know who to speak to and when, and He will give you the words to say (Luke 12:11-12; 21:15)
vs. 7 – Ask and keep asking, knock and keep knocking, seek and keep seeking. I think of a friend of mine who has for months been unable to determine the root cause of her illness. She is asking, knocking, and seeking not only to know what is going on, but also to better understand the purpose behind it.
vs. 9 – It struck me that Jesus was saying here that food is a gift. What do we consider as gifts? What should we be considering as gifts?
vs. 13 – Recognizing the path everyone else is taking and having the courage to question it. Choosing to follow not just because everyone else is going the same direction, but because you are certain of your calling, to walk the path He puts before you to walk, even if it is contrary to popular opinion. There are no shortcuts. The road may be challenging but the journey throughout is worth it.
vs. 14 – For the gate is small and the way is narrow for those who find it. “Find” is a hint to us that the gate is hidden , so we must seek it and not just take the chance that we will stumble across it.
vs. 15 – Being aware of false prophets, and learning to identify them by their fruit. Verse 21 is an example of what the Lord will say to those false prophets. Check your own fruit, don’t fall into that category!