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‘The Pursuit’ Blog

He’s Got the Power

In 1990, the German electronic band “Snap!” released their hit song “The Power” as the first single on their debut album. The song reached the number-one spot in six different European and African countries and plateaued at Number Two on the US Billboard Top 100 Songs. 

I don’t like to think about the fact that this song is more than 30 years old now because it makes me feel old. However, it’s still a popular song in commercials and at sporting events, especially the iconic beat at the beginning. Don’t lie, I’m sure it’s been playing in your head ever since you started reading this post just like it’s been playing in my head as I write.

Although a message like “I’ve got the power” is motivating and empowering, it’s not always true. In life, we lack power far more often than we possess it. We’re limited on what we can control and influence, but thankfully we serve a God who is truly all-powerful.

Today, we wrap up our extended series in the Sermon on the Mount. Unlike other weeks, where we’ve focused on Jesus’ instructions in this timeless teaching, today we’re taking a different approach. We have two verses left to cover in Matthew 7, and it speaks about the reaction to Jesus’ words rather than the words themselves:

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.” – Matthew 7:28-29

I see three important things here worth noticing. First, we hear that the crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teachings. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because, well, it’s Jesus, after all. What’s not to be amazed about? At the same time, in Matthew’s Gospel, this was the first time Jesus had given an extended speech, and it was still early on in his ministry. If Jesus wanted to make a grand entrance, he couldn’t have delivered in a better or more noticeable way than with this speech. He’s certainly set the stage for the equally impressive teachings, miracles, and actions to follow.

Next, we hear that Jesus taught with authority and that this display of authority contrasted the manner in which the teachers of religious law were operating. It’s not uncommon for somebody to describe something by contrasting it with something else, but it’s particularly noteworthy here when it’s done by alluding to somebody (“teachers of religious law”) who would have been the modern-day embodiment of authority and prestige. The irony of Jesus’s authority being so far and away above the so-called authority of the teachers of religious law shouldn’t be lost on us, nor the subtle implication that the current system wasn’t working at the time and a change was necessary. 

Lastly, we must think about the very concept of authority itself. Where did this authority come from? So often in life, authority has a source. In the same way that the sun provides energy that’s used throughout the earth, all authority has an origin. We notice that Jesus’ authority is questioned throughout the Gospel accounts, mainly because people struggle to understand that Jesus Himself is the ultimate source of authority. He is the Word. He is God in the flesh. He doesn’t need to be given authority because he is the authority. 

Because Jesus is the ultimate authority, we will benefit from putting His teachings into practice. It will take a lifetime of repetition and trial and error, but Jesus promises we’ll find blessings and wisdom along the journey. Although I will soon pick up another series and begin writing on different topics, I hope we won’t leave these essential ideas in the Sermon on the Mount behind. Instead, let’s continue to make every effort to live as the type of people Jesus has called us to become in these teachings.