Astonishing Authority

Astonishing Authority

““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.” (Matthew 7:7–8:13, ESV)

The Father Who Gives Good Things

Jesus has a clear message for us about the Father's care - ask, seek, and knock. He encourages us to take comfort in God’s provision by sharing examples of how we do this every day. With faith-filled determination Jesus calls on us to approach our Father as children who depend upon Him with confident expectation that he will answer.

Golden

Jesus summarizes his Sermon on the Mount with one single, powerful statement—treat others as you'd like to be treated. This timeless golden rule is at the heart of Jesus' teachings and reflects both his mission "to fulfill" in addition to summarizing the Law and Prophets. When we love God, it spills over into how we show care for those around us.

Narrow

As Jesus began teaching his disciples, he warned them of the demanding path they were to embark on – a road that is narrow and constricted. Jesus explains that it is like a small gate, one that is easy to miss. The road will never widen or make room for extra baggage. One must shed everything in order to pass through.

Recognize The Fruit

Jesus has taught us a valuable lesson about recognizing those who are true and false teachers: by their fruit you will know them. Meaning, the essence of what someone really is can be understood through paying attention to how they speak and act - that's where we see real truth being revealed! We should strive to recognize these things in our lives so we can make sure keep up with this vital wisdom Jesus shared with us.

I Never Knew You

Jesus reminds us that faith without action is meaningless and empty. Knowing Jesus must go beyond reciting words of affirmation—He asks us to live a life devoted to Him, fully. Signs and wonders can come from sources other than God. These external demonstrations prove nothing. Knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus are two entirely different things, and there will be many on the day of judgment who will discover that works and religion cannot save you. Only Jesus can rescue sinners.

Hearing Is Not Enough

Those that belong to the kingdom must build on the proper foundation so that our standing proves the strength of our foundation when the test comes. When one obeys Jesus, even storms cannot destroy them. However, the storm will destroy the house for the hypocrite or religious counterfeit, and the fall will be great. The distinction here is not between those who hear Jesus and those who do not but between those who hear and obey and those who hear but do not obey. As Jesus' sermon concludes, the people are amazed at his teaching. He did not teach like the scribes and referred to other Rabbis and their practices. Instead, he taught with authority because he is the word of God, and he has the authority to speak for God because he is God.

Jesus Touches A Leper

Large crowds are following Jesus at this point early in his ministry. Rumors are spreading, hope is rising, and those on the fringe of society have begun to take notice. A leper breaks from culturally expected norms and kneels before Jesus. Those close to Jesus may have retreated at this sight. Others may have hurled insults or yelled at this leper for his behavior. This leper was not welcome and was expected to not only announce to others that they suffered from this dreaded condition, but they were also expected to keep their distance and stay in their community suffering from the death touch. Jesus did what was unthinkable and reached out his hand and touched this leper. The outrageous behavior of this Rabbi would have caused the crowds great distress, and the expectation would be that Jesus would now be forced away because he was unclean. However, when he touched this man, leprosy left his body, and he was immediately cleansed from his terrible prison. Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone and to show the priests so that they would pronounce him clean and he could integrate into society. This man would not have to tell anyone because his presence alone would demand questions and answers.

Gentiles Too?

The Kingdom of God has always extended beyond the Jewish world. The patriarch Abraham was told that all peoples and all nations would be blessed through him. As Jesus returns to Capernaum, something unexpected happens, and a Gentile Centurion approaches Jesus. The most unexpected thing is the centurion’s great faith. In a few verses, the disciples will demonstrate little faith, while those whom we expect to have no faith show great trust in Jesus. For the centurion, Jesus heals the servant at a distance, rewarding the absolute confidence that the centurion puts in him. Jesus explains that faith is necessary, and nationality is not what saves. He commends this soldier and assures him that the servant will be healed.