• 03:44
  • Sunday ,26 June 2011

The people were astonished at His teaching (Mt 7: 28)

Pope Shenouda III

Pope Shenouda Article


Sunday ,26 June 2011

The people were astonished at His teaching  (Mt 7: 28)

   He has authority: What authority was that? It was the authority of the Legislator.
• The words "You have heard that it was said … But I say to you" repeatedly came on the Lord's mouth, when speaking about murder, about adultery, about divorce, about oaths, about any eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and about the relationship with the neighbor and the enemy (Mt 5: 21, 27, 28, 31, 32- 34, 38, 39, 43, 44)

• In His words about the Sabbath, He said, "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Mt 5: 12: 8) As Lord of the Sabbath, He put its rules as He willed.
• When He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” the scribes grumbled within themselves, so He said to them, "… that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins … 'Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'" (Mt 9: 2- 6)
   The Lord had authority on many things, in addition to His authority of legislation.
   He had authority and influence on those who listened to Him attracting them wonderfully by His very attractive character and irresistible impressive way and prayers. Trust and admiration increased the attraction, as well as the truth of His words and the purity of His teaching, for His generation never heard before a teacher like Him.
   Undoubtedly, they wished His Sermon would not end.
   They were astonished at His teaching:
   Not those only who heard the Sermon on the Mount were astonished, but others also.
• When He was still twelve years old, He sat in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, "And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." (Lk 2: 46, 47)
• Afterwards when they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us … Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" He said His famous words, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." When they had heard these words they marveled (Mt 22: 15- 22).
• When the Sadducees, who said there is no resurrection, asked Him about the woman who married seven brothers one after the other on the death of each of them, whose wife of the seven she would be in the resurrection, the Lord answered them, saying, "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven" (Mt 22: 33)
   They were astonished at His answers, and at His questions.
• When the Lord asked them what they think about the Christ, whose Son is He, they said to Him, "The Son of David." So He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord," saying: 'The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.' If David then calls Him "Lord," how is He his Son?"
Of course they were astonished at His question, and no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (Mt 22: 41- 46).
• Again when He asked the chief priests and the elders of the people about the baptism of John, where was it from, from heaven or from men, they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet" So they answered Him and said, "We do not know." (Mt 21: 23- 27)
• Not only His generation, but all generations also from the time of His incarnation up till now, are astonished at His teaching, especially at the law of perfection He introduced to mankind, as He said, "You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Mt 5: 44, 48) And to the rich young man He said, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Mt 19: 21) Actually, no books would suffice if we wanted to speak about perfection in His teaching.
   Christ the Teacher:
   Everybody called Him "Teacher".
   The scribes and the Pharisees addressed Him with this title, also the lawyers and the Sadducees, Nicodemus, and His disciples (Mt 12: 38; 22: 16, 24; Jn 3: 2; 4: 31). Mary Magdalene likewise addressed Him with the same title "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher) (Jn 20: 16), and the rich young man addressed Him, saying, "Good Teacher" (Mt 19: 16) When He washed the feet of His disciples, He said to them, "You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you" (Jn 13: 13- 15).
   As a Teacher, He introduced the good example and the practical model.
   The word "Teacher" is more inclusive than the word "Preacher", for a preacher may say impressive words concerning virtue, but a teacher addresses also faith, dogma, and everything with explanation, interpretation, and supporting evidence and verses.
   God, since the olden times, taught His people, as David the Prophet says, "Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me." "Teach me Your statutes … teach me Your judgments." (Ps 25: 4, 5; 119: 12, 108)
   The Lord Christ taught and explained by parables from actual life, from the life of the Sowers, the fishermen, the merchants, the stewards, the talents, and the leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, the virgins and the wedding (Mt 13: 33; 25) and the watching servants.
   He taught everywhere and on every occasion.  
   The long Sermon was on the Mount, and the miracle of the five loaves and two fish was in a deserted place. Sometimes He spoke  to the people from a boat, or in a house (as in the miracle of the paralytic), in their synagogues, while going through the grain fields, or at the sea shore (as when He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection) (Mt 5: 7; 14: 15; 13: 1,2; Mk 2: 1; Mt 4: 23; 9: 35; 12: 1; Jn 21).
   He seized every opportunity to give a teaching.
   When they argued with Him about keeping the Sabbath, He gave them a teaching based on evidence, saying, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." When they accused Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub, He taught them that, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation." When they criticized His disciples for not washing their hands when they eat bread, He taught them, saying, "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." He taught them the honor due to God's house when He cleansed the temple. When He chose Matthew the tax-collector as disciple and ate with tax collectors and sinners, the Pharisees criticized Him, so He taught them a spiritual principle, that "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick … I desire mercy and not sacrifice, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." ((Mt 12: 2- 12, 25; 15: 11; 21; 9: 11- 13)
   When they came to arrest Him and Peter struck the servant of the high priest with a sword and cut off his ear, He said to Peter, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Mt 26: 53)
   He was popular in His teaching; wherever He went, the multitudes followed Him. In the miracle of the five loaves and two fish there were around Him about five thousand men, besides women and children, that is about twelve thousand (Mt 14: 21). In the miracle of healing the paralytic, people heard that He was in the house, and immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door (Mk 2: 1, 2). In the story of Zacchaeus, as he could not see Him because of the crowd, he climbed up into a sycamore tree (Lk 19: 3, 4). Again one day He sat by the sea, and great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so He got into a boat and sat and spoke to the multitude standing on the shore (Mt 13: 1- 3)
   He was a beloved Teacher, as it is said, "The world has gone after Him!" (Jn 12: 19)
   "He went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." (Mt 9: 35; 4: 23) "His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan." (Mt 4: 24, 25)
   He was not only a Teacher, but He formed a school and had disciples.
   At first He chose His twelve disciples, trained them, sent them, and taught them what to do (Mt 10), then He appointed seventy others, sent them, corrected the thoughts that fought them, and gave all of them power (Lk 10). He commanded them to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they received power from on high, from the Holy Spirit (Lk 24: 49), then they should be witnesses to Him in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1: 8).
   Due to the importance of teaching, all believers were called disciples.
   The mission He entrusted to His disciples was, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them … teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." (Mt 28: 19, 20) "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mk 16: 15)
   He established a school, and His teaching spread among all nations and to every creature. Everybody was astonished at His teaching.