Pondering the Words of Jesus

Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Jesus has closed out the sermon at this point and Matthew, the author, records the reaction. We should notice here that the emphasis is not placed on the shocking content of the sermon or the excellence of the delivery but the man that delivered it. At the end of the day, my goal in preaching is the same as what this response is: that people would be astonished at Jesus! Just three points tonight, the first is

The Words of Jesus are Amazing

We are told that immediately the people who were in attendance were astonished at the sayings from Jesus. That is, the words that He uttered held a great deal of weight. We will see why the words themselves were so important but first I want to look at the response that is described as astonished.
The idea here is that they were blown away. This is not an amazement that is had but then passed over shortly there after. Instead, those that came away astonished were still amazed at these sayings for days after the fact.
Words are interesting because I could read this message to a crowd who did not know that the source was Jesus and they would likely go away unphased. Yet, Jesus spoke in a way that was distinct and counter to anything else that was being taught in that day.
A similar response is found in John 7:46. “The officers answered, “no one ever spoke like this man!””
This is why we pay attention when the word of God is read.

The Words of Jesus are Authoritative

We see why the people were so astonished by these words from Jesus. It was because He spoke in a different way, in a different authority, than those who were teaching during those days. The rabbis and teachers of the day spoke but leaned on the authority of the prophets who came before them or the experienced rabbis that came before.
Not Jesus. He says Himself in John 5:58, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This was wildly offensive to the Jews but it was true. Jesus had authority to teach in this way because of His divine nature.
One final point that requires a little more attention.

The Words of Jesus demand a response

The most difficult part of this passage for me is the fact that we are not told whether or not there is a lasting impact from this sermon on those who were there listening. Matthew tells us that His words held a great deal of weight and he taught with authority but we are not told how many in the crowd came to a point of obedience.
This should be a warning sign to each person in two ways. First, simply hearing the words of Jesus and being amazed is not enough. We saw this in the message from this morning.
Second, we should remember that not everyone will respond in the way that they ought to when presented with the words of Jesus. This is the truth in all cases. These people were faced with the Son of God and I believe that if all of them had come to a point of repentance and obedience, Matthew would have recorded that. But he leaves these details out for a reason.
My hope is that we will always cherish the words of Jesus and stand amazed at them because of who they are coming from and His authority. Let’s pray.
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