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"As one having authority"

From the October 1967 issue of The Christian Science Journal


It is recorded in the Bible that after Christ Jesus had delivered what has since been called the Sermon on the Mount, "the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."Matt. 7:28, 29; It is enlightening to compare the methods of the scribes with those of Christ Jesus, our great Wayshower whose teachings revolutionized religion, philosophy, and the healing arts and showed mankind how to enlarge their expectations and capabilities.

What was the authority which the people recognized in Jesus? It was certainly not legal or social supremacy and position. As a matter of fact, the scribes were the ones who had that. They were a class of men under the Judaic system who taught and explained the Mosaic laws governing the lives and religious behavior of the Hebrew people. The scribes received special training for their work, and this had always seemed the proper preparation for advanced teaching. An important aspect of this training was the accurate memorization of the Mosaic laws plus their personal interpretations made during many generations. These traditions of the elders represented human opinion, not divine law.

Notwithstanding the respected position and training of the scribes, the people realized that the Master's teaching represented something far superior. John's Gospel records: "The Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. ... He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him."John 7:15-18;

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