Matthew 7:29
For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
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(29) He taught them.—The Greek implies continuity, He was teaching.

As one having authority, and not as the scribes.—Some instances have been already pointed out: the “I say unto you,” which is contrasted with what had been said “to them of old time”; the assumption that He, the speaker, was the Head of the divine kingdom and the Judge of quick and dead. More striking still is the entire absence of any reference by name to the teaching of other interpreters of the Law. As a rule, the scribe hardly ever gave his exposition without at least beginning by what had been said by Hillel or by Shammai, by Rabbi Joseph or Rabbi Meir, depending almost or altogether upon what had thus been ruled before, as much as an English lawyer depends on his precedents. In contrast with all this, our Lord fills the people with amazement by speaking to them as One who has a direct message from God. It is the prophet, or rather, perhaps, the king, who speaks, and not the scribe.

7:21-29 Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions. These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders. This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus: some may seem hard to flesh and blood, but they must be done. Christ is laid for a foundation, and every thing besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon an outward profession of religion. Upon these they venture; but they are all sand, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of heaven. There is a storm coming that will try every man's work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. The multitudes were astonished at the wisdom and power of Christ's doctrine. And this sermon, ever so often read over, is always new. Every word proves its Author to be Divine. Let us be more and more decided and earnest, making some one or other of these blessednesses and Christian graces the main subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.His doctrine - His teaching.

As one having authority, and not as the scribes - The scribes were the learned people and teachers of the Jewish nation, and were principally Pharisees. They taught chiefly the sentiments of their Rabbis, and the traditions which had been delivered; they consumed much of their time in useless disputes and "vain jangling." Jesus was open, plain, grave, useful, delivering truth as "became" the oracles of God; not spending his time in trifling disputes and debating questions of no importance, but confirming his doctrine by miracles and argument; teaching "as having power," as it is in the original, and not in the vain and foolish manner of the Jewish doctors. He showed that he had authority to explain, to enforce, and to "change" the ceremonial laws of the Jews. He came with authority such as no "man" could have, and it is not remarkable that his explanations astonished them. From this chapter we may learn,

1. The evil of censorious judging, Matthew 7:1-5. We cannot see the heart. We have ourselves possibly greater faults than the persons that we condemn. They may possibly be of a different kind; but it is nevertheless not uncommon for persons to he very censorious toward faults in others, which they have to much greater extent themselves.

2. We see how we are to treat people who are opposers of the gospel, Matthew 7:6. We are not to present it to them when we know they will despise it and abuse us. We should, however, be cautious in forming that opinion of them. Many people may be far more ready to hear the gospel than we imagine, and a word seasonably and kindly spoken may be the means of saving them, Proverbs 25:11; Ecclesiastes 11:6. We should not meet violent and wicked opposers of the gospel with a harsh, overbearing, and lordly spirit - a spirit of dogmatizing and anger; nor should we violate the laws of social contact under the idea of "faithfulness." Religion gains nothing by outraging the established laws of social life, 1 Peter 3:8. If people will not hear us when we speak to them kindly and respectfully, we may be sure they will not when we abuse them and become angry. We harden them against the truth, and confirm them in the opinion that religion is of no value. Our Saviour was always mild and kind, "and in not a single instance did he do violence to the laws of social intercourse, or fail in the respect due from one man to another." When with harshness people speak to their superiors; when they abuse them with unkind words, coarse epithets, and unfeeling denunciations; when children and youth forget their station, and speak in harsh, authoritative tones to the aged, they are violating the very first principles of the gospel - meekness, respect, and love. Give honor to whom honor is due, and be kind, be courteous.

3. Christ gives special encouragement to prayer, Matthew 7:7-11. Especially his remarks apply to the young. What child is there that would not go to his parent and ask him for things which were necessary? What child doubts the willingness of a kind parent to give what he thinks will be best for him? But God is more willing to give than the best parent. We need of "him" gifts of far more importance than we ever can of an earthly father. None but God can forgive, enlighten, sanctify, and save us. How strange that many ask favors of an "earthly" parent daily and hourly, and never ask of the Great Universal Father a single blessing for time or eternity!

4. There is danger of losing the soul, Matthew 7:13-14. The way to ruin is broad; the path to heaven is narrow. People naturally and readily go in the former; they never go in the latter without design. When we enter on the journey of life, we naturally fall into the broad and thronged way to ruin. Our original propensity, our native depravity, our disinclination to God and religion, lead us to that, and we never leave it without effort. How much more natural to tread in a way in which multitudes go, than in one where there are few travelers, and which requires an effort to find it! And how much danger is there that we shall continue to walk in that way until it terminates in our ruin! No one is saved without effort. No one enters on the narrow way without design; no one by following his natural inclination and propensities. And yet how indisposed we are to effort! how unwilling to listen to the exhortations which would call us from the broad path to a narrower and less frequented course! How prone are people to feel that they are safe if they are with the many, and that the multitude that attend them constitute a safeguard from danger!

"Encompassed by a throng,

On 'numbers' they depend;

They say so many can't be wrong,

And miss a happy end."

Yet did God ever spare a guilty city because it was large? Did he save the army of Sennacherib from the destroying angel because it was mighty? Does he hesitate to cut people down by the plague, the pestilence, and by famine, because they are numerous? Is he deterred from consigning people to the grave because they swarm upon the earth, and because a mighty throng is going to death? So in the way to hell. Not numbers, nor power, nor might, nor talent will make that way safe; nor will the path to heaven be a dangerous road because few are seen traveling there. The Saviour knew and felt that people are in danger; and hence, with much solemnity, he warned them when he lived, and now warns us, to strive to enter in at the narrow gate.

5. Sincerity is necessary in religion, Matthew 7:15-23. Profession is of no value without it. God sees the heart, and the day is near when He will cut down and destroy all those who do not bring forth the fruits of righteousness in their lives. If in anything we should be honest and sincere, surely it should be in the things of religion. God is never deceived Galatians 6:7, and the things of eternity are of too much consequence, to be lost by deluding ourselves or others. We may deceive our fellowmen, but we do not deceive our Maker; and soon He will strip off our thin covering, and show us as we are to the universe. If anything is of prominent value in religion, it is "honesty" - honesty to ourselves, to our fellow-men, and to God. Be willing to know the worst of your case. Be willing to be thought of, by God and people, "as you are." Assume nothing which you do not possess, and pretend to nothing which you have not. Judge of yourselves as you do of others - not by words and promises, but by the life. Judge of yourselves as you do of trees; not by leaves and flowers, but by the fruit.

6. We may learn the importance of building our hopes of heaven on a firm foundation, Matthew 7:24-27. No other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:11. He is the tried Corner Stone, 1 Peter 2:6; Ephesians 2:20. On an edifice raised on that foundation the storms of persecution and calamity will beat in vain. Hopes thus reared will sustain us in every adversity, will remain unshaken by the terrors of death, and will secure us from the tempests of wrath that shall beat upon the guilty. How awful, in the day of judgment, will it be to have been deceived! How dreadful the shock to find then that the house has been built on the sand! How dreadful the emotions, to see our hopes totter on the brink of ruin; to see sand after sand washed away, and the dwelling reel over the heaving deep, and fall into the abyss to rise no more! Ruin, awful and eternal ruin, awaits those who thus deceive themselves, and who trust to a name to live, while they are dead.

7. Under what obligations are we for this "Sermon on the Mount!" In all languages there is not a discourse to be found that can be compared with it for purity, and truth, and beauty, and dignity. Were there no other evidence of the divine mission of Christ, this alone would be sufficient to prove that he was sent from God. Were these doctrines obeyed and loved, how pure and peaceful would be the world! How would hypocrisy be abashed and confounded! How would impurity hang its head! How would peace reign in every family and nation! How would anger and wrath flee! And how would the race - the lost and benighted tribes of people, the poor, and needy, and sorrowful - bend themselves before their common Father, and seek peace and eternal life at the hands of a merciful and faithful God!

29. For he taught them as one having authority—The word "one," which our translators have here inserted, only weakens the statement.

and not as the scribes—The consciousness of divine authority, as Lawgiver, Expounder and Judge, so beamed through His teaching, that the scribes' teaching could not but appear drivelling in such a light.

Ver. 28,29. The same words also are repeated, Mark 1:22 Luke 4:32. They declare the effect of this and other of our Saviour’s sermons upon the hearts of those that heard him, and the reason of it. They

were astonished, affected with an admiration at what they heard him in this and other sermons deliver: the Divine verities revealed in his discourses, the purity of his doctrine, the convincing power that attended it, his bold and free speech without respect of persons, the simplicity of his phrase, the gravity of his matter, the majesty he showed in his discourses, affected the people, and made him appear to them one sent of God, and clothed with his authority. He did not teach as the scribes, the ordinary teachers amongst the Jews, from whom they had the discourses about traditions, and rites and ceremonies, cold and dull discourses, of little or no tendency to their eternal salvation.

For he taught them, as one having authority,.... This does not so much respect the subject matter of his ministry, the gravity, weight, and solidity of his doctrine; which, to be sure, was greatly different from that of the Scribes, which chiefly lay in proposing and handling things trivial, and of no moment; such as the rituals of the law, the traditions of the elders, or washing of the hands and cups, &c. nor merely the manner of his delivery, which was with great affection, ardour, and fervency of spirit, with much liberty and utterance of speech, and with wonderful perspicuity and majesty; in which also he differed from the Scribes, who taught in a cold and lifeless manner, without any spirit and power; but this chiefly regards the method he used in preaching, which was by delivering truths of himself in his own name, and by his own authority; often using those words, "but I say unto you": he spoke as a lawgiver, as one that had authority from heaven, and not from men;

and not as the Scribes, who used to say, when they delivered any thing to the people, "our Rabbins", or "our wise men say" so and so: such as were on the side of Hillell made use of his name; and those who were on the side of Shammai made use of his name; scarce ever would they venture to say anything of themselves, but said, the ancient doctors say thus and thus: almost innumerable instances might be given, out of the Talmud, in which one Rabbi speaks in the name of another; but our Lord spoke boldly, of himself, in his own name, and did not go about to support his doctrine by the testimony of the elders; but spake, as having received power and authority, as man, from his Father, "and not as the Scribes". Some copies add, and Pharisees; these generally going together; and so read the Vulgate Latin, the Syriac, the Persic versions, and the Hebrew edition of Matthew by Munster.

For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 7:29. Ἦν διδάσκων] expresses more emphatically than a simple imperf. that it was a continuous thing, Kühner, II. 1, p. 35. Winer, p. 526 f. [E. T. 437].

ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων] as one who is invested with prophetic authority, in contrast to the γραμματεῖς, in listening to whom one could hear that they were not authorized to speak in the same fearless, candid, unconstrained, convincing, telling, forcible way. “All was full of life, and sounded as though it had hands and feet,” Luther. Comp. Luke 4:32; Luke 4:36; Mark 1:22; Mark 1:27; Revelation 9:19.

Matthew 7:29. ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων: Fritzsche supplies, after ἔχων, τοῦ διδάσκειν, and renders, He taught as one having a right to teach, because He could do it well, “scite et perite,” a master of the art. The thought lies deeper. It is an ethical, not an artistic or æsthetical contrast that is intended. The scribes spake by authority, resting all they said on traditions of what had been said before. Jesus spake with authority, out of His own soul, with direct intuition of truth; and, therefore, to the answering soul of His hearers. The people could not quite explain the difference, but that was what they obscurely felt.

29. having authority] He was Himself a lawgiver. His teaching was not a mere expansion of the old law. Much less did he confine himself to the words of any particular Rabbi.

the scribes] Sopherim = either (1) “those who count;” because the Scribes counted each word and letter of the Scriptures; or (2) “those occupied with books.” The Scribes, as an organized body, originated with Ezra, who was in a special sense the “Sopher” or Scribe. This order of Sopherim, strictly so called, terminated b. c. 300. Their successors in our Lord’s time were usually termed Tanaim, “those who repeat, i. e. teach the Law.” They are called “lawyers” (ch. Matthew 22:35; Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34), also “the wise,” “Elders,” and “Rabbis.”

A scribe’s education began as early as in his fifth year. At thirteen he became a “son of the precept,” Bar-mitsvah. If deemed fit, he became a disciple. At thirty he was admitted as a teacher, having tablets and a key given him. See note, ch. Matthew 16:19. His functions were various; he transcribed the law (here the greatest accuracy was demanded); he expounded the law, always with reference to authority—he acted as judge in family litigation, and was employed in drawing up various legal documents, such as marriage contracts, writings of divorce, etc. (See Kitto’s Cycl. Bib. Lit. and Smith’s Bib. Dict. art. Scribes.)

The alliance between Scribes and Pharisees was very close, each taught that the law could be interpreted, fenced round and aided by tradition, in opposition to the Sadducees, who adhered to the strict letter of the written law.

Matthew 7:29. Ὡς ἑξουσίαν ἔχων, as one having authority) They could not withdraw themselves away.[353] It is the mark of truth to constrain minds, and that of their own free will. See examples of our Lord’s authority (ἐξουσία) in the Gnomon on ch. Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:18-20, Matthew 7:22-23, and also Matthew 8:19, and John 7:19.—γραμματεῖς,[354] scribes) to whom the people were accustomed, and who had no authority,

[353] They felt the majesty of the Teacher, and the power of His word.—V. g.

[354] The argin of Edit. A.D. 1753 regards the fuller reading,οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, as almost equal in probability to this shorter one.—E. B.

Lachm. adds the words with C corrected by the first and second later hand, ac Vulg. Hil. 640, Euseb. ἀποδ. 27b:b also, adding αὐτῶν. However the weighty authority of B is against the additional words.—ED.

Verse 29. - For he taught them. Such was his constant habit (η΅ν... διδάσκων). As one having authority, and not as the scribes. Who, indeed, never claimed personal authority. Jewish teachers lean on the fact of their having received that which they expound. They professed]y sink their own personality in that of those of old time, to whom the teaching was first given (Matthew 5:21). To this our Lord's personal claims stand in sharp contrast. The scribes; Revised Version, their scribes, with the manuscripts; i.e. the scribes to which they were accustomed to listen. Whether the reference is primarily to scribes of the nation generally or only to those of the neighbouring district, is hardly material, for these were representatives of the one class. A few authorities add, "and the Pharisees," which may either be derived from Luke 5:30 or be an independent gloss due to the fact that the Pharisees were looked upon as the typical Jewish teachers.

Matthew 7:29He taught (ἦν διδάσκων)

He was teaching. This union of the verb and participle emphasizes the idea of duration or habit more than the simple tense.

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