Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teaching With Authority

One of the things that amazed people about Jesus was that "he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes" (Mark 1:22). The scribes were simply repeating what some of the great rabbis had taught, and did not add their own interpretation to the teaching. Jesus, on the other hand, was not quoting other rabbis, but rather explaining the scriptures directly. When you think about it, for the first time God Himself was able to explain exactly what the scriptures meant. It was kind of like having an author speak about his work directly, instead of having others discuss the book.
For this reason, the Gospels are very dear to us. We get to hear about the teachings of Jesus, which He imparted not only by word but more importantly by example. It is especially important to pay attention when you hear Jesus say "you have heard it said... but I say to you..." This is a clear indication that He is trying to correct some wrong interpretation, and so help us better understand what God wants to reveal to us.
All of this is important to consider when we are reading Scripture. We are so blessed to be able not only to read but also to own a copy of the Bible. No one in the time of Jesus could possibly have imagined a day when they would not need to have someone read God's holy word to them from a scroll. And here we are, able to read it ourselves anytime we want! Sadly, few people take advantage of this wonderful privilege, and bibles routinely sit unopened in homes all around us.
Perhaps as we begin this Ordinary (ordinal or counted) Time in the Church calendar we can recommit ourselves to read scripture more regularly. Taking 10 or 15 minutes each day to read and reflect upon passages can surely help us understand what God wants of us. And the best place to begin is really the gospels. After all, that is where Jesus teaches with authority.

No comments: