Study 6 THE AUTHORITY OF HIS TEACHING
THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portions: Matthew 7:24-29; John 8:38; 12:47-50
There is no power whose attraction is greater than an authoritative word. Of the Lord Jesus it was said, “The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law”. This is the key verse of the present study. When we consider the large amount of space given in the Gospels to the recorded sayings and teachings of our Lord, it makes it imperative that we study the characteristics and the scope of His teaching. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Teacher supreme! Unlike every other teacher, not only does His teaching still live, but He (the Teacher) lives. He is the incarnation of the truth He came to teach. All that He ever taught is perfectly summed up in Him. He not only spoke the truth, not only was all His teaching true, but He is the Truth – look up John 14:6. His words are the expression of Himself. Our first need is to know the Lord as our Saviour, and therefore His first word to us is, “Come to me…” (Matthew 11:28); but having come to Him and trusted Him as our Saviour, our second need is to know Him as our teacher. His word to us therefore is also, “Learn from Me…” (Matthew 11:29). Now notice the following characteristics of our Lord’s teaching:
- (1) The AUTHORITY with which He spoke. In Mark 1:22 our Lord’s teaching is contrasted with that of the scribes, who had no message, preached about trivialities and never spoke with any conviction. Jesus spoke as an Authority! This is the way in which we are to teach and preach Him – with authority.
- (2) He spoke with BOLDNESS. He was not afraid of anyone – look up Matthew 23:27 and compare John 7:26. We need this boldness in our preaching today, the boldness the apostles had – look up Acts 4:13.
- (3) How GRACIOUS His words were! He was “full of grace and truth”, as we learn from John 1:14,17, and all His words were the expression of Himself – look up Luke 4:22. No wonder the people came to listen to such gracious words.
- (4) The SIMPLICITY of His teaching. It was profound, and yet – look up Mark 12:37. It must have been simple and easy to understand in order to attract the common people. Frequently He taught by parables, illustrating great and sublime truths with very ordinary things – seed, silver etc. Is our preaching simple, or is it above the heads of the people?
- (5) He was the UNIQUE Teacher. He was unique not only in what He taught but in the way He did it – look up John 7:46. We too have a unique message – look up Romans 1:16, and compare Acts 4:12.
- (6) His words were DIVINE and life-giving. Inherent in His words were life and power – look up Luke 4:32 and compare John 6:63; see life in His words in the following: Matthew 8:26; Mark 1:40-42; Mark 5:41-42; Luke 7:14-15; John 5:8-9 and compare John 8:31-32 and John 15:3.
- (7) The PERMANENCY of His words. The words of other great teachers have long been forgotten; His words will abide for ever – Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:24-25.
It is not possible, within the compass of this study, to consider the substance and the scope of our Lord’s teaching. Indeed, here is a life-long course of study for each one of us. Think of the variety of themes upon which He spoke (and speaks) with authority. Upon every subject He is the Authority, for there is no other – look up 1 Corinthians 1:24; Colossians 2:3. It is important to remember that the authority with which our Lord taught in the days of His earthly ministry is the authority with which He teaches us today, through His Word (the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments). In this connection notice these three vital truths:
1. The Lord Jesus taught with authority because He only taught those things He received from the Father
Jesus is God, but during His earthly life He was dependent upon the Father for all that He did and all that He said – look up and compare John 8:26,28 and 38; John 12:48-50 and John 14:24. He claimed that all His teaching was not from Himself, but that both what He should say (the matter), and what He should speak (the words), were given Him of the Father. Where else is there such an Authority?
2. The Lord Jesus taught the absolute authority of the Old Testament Scriptures
This is tremendously important in view of the fact that many today who profess to be His followers deny the authority of the Old Testament. The scriptures which Jesus had were exactly the same as the Old Testament in our Bible; all are agreed about this. He regarded the Old Testament scriptures as authentic in their entirety.
For example, He endorsed the opening chapters of Genesis – look up Matthew 24:37-39; Mark 10:6-7 and Luke 11:51. Also refer to Matthew 15:4; Matthew 19:18; Luke 24:27 and John 8:56-58; and if you want a few more confirming scriptures turn to and compare 1 Samuel 21:6 with Matthew 12:3-4. If that is not enough, compare 1 Kings 17:9 with Luke 4:26; and 2 Kings 5:1 with Luke 4:27. Our Lord quoted from Isaiah 61:1; Jeremiah 7:11; Daniel 11:31; Hosea 6:6; Jonah 1:17; Zechariah 13:7; and Malachi 3:1 etc. He honoured the whole of the Scriptures as the authoritative oracles of God – look up Luke 24:27. He constantly referred to and quoted from the scriptures saying, “This scripture must be fulfilled…”, thereby attesting their absolute authority – look up and compare Mark 14:49; John 13:18; John 17:12.
Our Lord never questioned the accuracy of any part of the Old Testament. How solemn for anyone to do so today! – look up Revelation 22:18-19.
3. The Lord Jesus taught the authority of the New Testament Scriptures
Before our Lord died, He made provision for the writing of the New Testament by promising that the Holy Spirit, who had inspired the writers of the Old Testament scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21), would also inspire the writers of the New Testament scriptures – John 14:26; John 16:7 and John 16:12-13, and compare 1 Corinthians 2:13. We learn from this study that the Lord is our Teacher. He is the living Word (John 1:1); and He speaks with authority through the written Word (Psalm 119:160).