Devotional Thought fo the Day:
But they were no match for Stephen, who spoke with the great wisdom that the Spirit gave him. Acts 6:10 CEV
28 When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29 He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. Matthew 7:28-29 (CEV)
In other words, loving neighbor means not only coming under God’s law but coming into God’s life. It also means coming under God’s law but in a deeper sense than obeying the precepts. Law in Scripture sometimes means not just precept or prescription, but also a principle or origin of living.
I have pondered the idea of Jesus teaching with authority often. Indeed, I have often thought it would be a blessing to compare His manuscripts (which we have in the four gospels) to the manuscripts of the teachers of the law. Imagine, being able to sit down and look at some of the greatest teachers in rabbinical history, and compare them to Jesus, to find out what is missing, and then be able ot include that in my preaching, teaching, and writing.
As I’ve grown older, I ‘ve realized that it is not the manuscripts that would hold the answer. I am sure there were men as erudite, that there were those who included more references to back up their teaching, who could also enthrall crowds. So comparing the manuscripts would not lead to an answer.
Jesus gave that ability to His disciples, we see it in the scriptures, for they to taught, empowered by the Holy Spirit. You can see that in their writings, but it is also seen in the way people react to them. Stephen, one of the first deacons, spoke in a way that astounded people. He spoke of Jesus, and as he does, they described his face as like one of the angels.
There was no mistaking it, it was unnerving.
I think Professor Kreeft has an insight into it, that I didn’t think about until my devotions lined up this morning. It is not when we study the law that we can teach it, it is not when we feel its weight, but when we realize we are in Christ, when His logos, His order is rooted in us because He is there. When His love, for He is love, has taken root in us. When we become intimately aware that we are in His presence, and His glory transforms everything.
Including us, and therefore, including our teaching.
Not just the instruction that occurs in a sermon, or a lesson. But the teaching of our lives. The teaching that points people, not to us, but draws them into His glory. It is the impact of knowing you are loved.
As Jesus taught, the Father was revealed, may as we teach, the Spirit reveals Jesus, and the love He has for those who are listening.
Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 170.