By whose authority?

Posted: May 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

law-gavel_and_scalesI was reading in Matthew today and something really stood out to me.  It’s at the end of the beatitudes in Matthew 7.  After giving this wonderful teaching of which our Christian life should be modeled after, there is this little diddy (verses 28 and 29):

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

Ouch.  It sounds as though some of what Jesus was saying was not overly revolutionary in that it had been said by others before him.  The difference this time was that there was something different behind His words: Authority.

It really got me thinking about many of the sermons and books that I have consumed and taken part in over the years.  I can remember few where I have said, “Wow.  That was powerful,” at the end of them. Maybe it is because of this very thing mentioned by Matthew.  Those few were delivered with the authority of God behind them, which leads me to consider the others.  By whose authority were they given?

I think of my writing, and the content of much of it is just ranting, which is something delivered of my own authority, and I will be held accountable for that (ouch).  But really, we must consider the motivation and origin of what we consume and deliver, even if from “religious authority.”

Since I cannot help what others do, it has to start with me.

- God, please help me to discern what is originating from my own soul, and what is coming from yours.  Let it not be said that anything I do is out of a spirit of manipulation, self, or of my own authority, because these are dead words.  But help me discern your voice, and only be a vessel your words pour from.

  • Christian Fahey

    Very thought provoking Moon. God help us only to speak His words–not our own. Who wants to be a dry scribe?

  • Jim Thornber

    I find a lot of “ouch” Scriptures when I read. It is the basis for my series called Scriptures That Bother Me. If we are true to what we are reading, then it should be life-changing and thought provoking. It should not leave us the same. If we are the same, we are not reading the living and active Word, but an ancient document that has no impact on the present. Good post.



  • tcone3

    I agree with your sentiment about some people’s teachings on scripture. I am Catholic the Magisterium (Bishops) are the official teaching authority of the church. Sometimes you hear people preach and you have an inner feeling that they aren’t right or are off based. It reminds me of the scripture verse, My sheep know my voice. For our church, there is a reason why just anyone can’t just get up and read scripture and have their interpretations, but so many do. The catechism of the catholic church for the first time outlines what it is we believe, where it came from, and is more concrete in our understanding than just word of mouth in the ancient times. I think you’re right too, it really hasn’t been until the invention of the printing press that the Bible was made available to anyone instead of just the religious. Look what it has done (joke) but it has kind of been good and bad. More good than bad of course.

  • baddogmooney

    Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

    - mooney