Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday in Easter 6: As one who had authority

Opening Sentence
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

Commemoration: Dunstan of Canterbury
O God of truth and beauty, who richly endowed your bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we pray, to see in you the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 87, 90

Lessons: Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29; Ephesians 2:11-22; Matthew 7:28-8:4

Matthew records that "the crowds were astonished at [Jesus's] teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."

Jesus was not merely rehashing the law in some dull, pedantic fashion. Neither, however, was he teaching anything new. What he was saying had been there all along but the scribes had obscured it. They had piled on layer upon layer of human tradition, greatly benefiting themselves (since they enjoyed controlling the lives of others) but leaving the people with no practical means for living lives that glorified God.

While the religious elites boasted in their self-righteous confidence, the common people saw only the grim prospect of judgment for having failed to live up to "God's standards." Jesus breathed new life into the law and, thus, gave new life to those dead in their transgressions.


O God Our Help in Ages Past