A popular website allows students to rate their college professors. The evaluations rate the professor by overall quality and level of difficulty. Students can also include comments about their experience. How would Jesus have scored on such a site? According to Matthew 7:28, His students were “amazed” by His teaching.
One of Jesus’ most notable features was His authority. The teachers of the law in Jesus’ day often quoted those under whom they had studied or other widely recognized teachers as the authority for what they said. Jesus appealed directly to Scripture and to His own authority. Another reason Jesus’ teaching left people “amazed” is that He often included provocative statements and parables.
But not everyone who heard Jesus was “amazed” in a good way. Jesus was no entertainer and wasn’t trying to earn a good rating from those who listened. Even His own followers were sometimes alarmed by what He said (Matt. 15:12). Jesus’ teaching could be disturbing and even mystifying. What He said was not always simple, nor was it always easy to accept. Some people portray Jesus as a homespun philosopher who taught people using simple stories. In today’s lesson about the wise and foolish builders, the message was hard hitting. Jesus’ teaching astonished His friends and outraged His enemies, angering them so much that they wanted to kill Him.
We need to pay careful attention to the warning Jesus gives (vv. 26–27). We must build our lives on a solid foundation. Jesus’ assessment of those who reject His teaching is characteristically blunt. Whoever ignores the teaching of Jesus is a fool.
>> If you are struggling with Christ’s teaching today, ask God to give you understanding and a heart filled with faith. What Jesus teaches is not common sense. It is revelation from God. Because of this, we need the help of God’s Spirit both to understand and accept what Jesus has to say.
Father, give us understanding of Christ’s teaching, often paradoxical and surprising for us. Like His 1st-century listeners, we’re amazed by His statements and parables. Give us a heart of faith to understand, accept, and follow Christ’s teaching.