If there was one quality in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth...

The Christian Science Monitor

If there was one quality in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth which impressed the multitude more than another, it would seem to have been the authority with which he spoke and acted. Constantly the New Testament records refer to this, and quote the exclamations of surprise with which the people acknowledged their recognition of it, and that this authority extended even to the elements. What makes this the more remarkable is the fact that at that time the scribes and Pharisees had for many years claimed to rule the Jews with the strictest discipline, based on the authority of the law, which carried with it all the weight of age and convention, so that the people were by no means unfamiliar with authoritative statements. And yet they evidently felt some striking difference in the attitude of Jesus, who, although, he was not attempting to assume any kind of dictatorship over them, impressed them with this strong sense of authority.

At a time like the present it is interesting to inquire into this subject, for human nature being much the same in the twentieth century as in the first, cause and effect in these matters are likely to bear a similar resemblance. The basis of the authority with which Jesus spoke was, unquestionably, knowledge. He spoke what he knew, not what he believed or opined, and on that knowledge he acted and made it therefore demonstrable. That is the whole matter in a nutshell. The scribes and Pharisees did not know; they talked, they preached, they were full of superstitions, and though many were no doubt well-meaning men, their actions were limited to such matters as ceremonial washings, tithing, "mint and anise and cummin," and some were hypocrites and cruel.

November 8, 1919

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