March 26th, 2013: The Thirty-Sixth Day of Lent

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,”

~Matthew 7.28~

Here, the gospel writer tells us that Jesus has concluded his teaching. By our contemporary standards, this is a rough close. There’s no nice conclusion, no feel-good anecdote, no ending prayer… Just a warning of judgment and a call to hear and obey. Can you imagine this kind of ending to a sermon today? The crowd would start squirming in the pew right around the beginning of the teaching on judgment (if not long before), waiting for some feel-good antidote to the harsh message. Instead, they get a brief parable, after which the preacher abruptly walks off the stage. The audience sits in stunned, awkward, uncomfortable silence as the heavy moment lingers.

Christ’s audience likely felt the same way. These people knew the Law – Jewish upbringing included extensive training in the Torah. They would have been familiar with teaching scenarios. Some of them may have been experts on the Law themselves. Yet, Christ’s teaching awed those who heard it.

Tomorrow, we’ll read about why Christ’s teaching awed the audience. Today, let’s think about our own reaction to Christ’s words. When we hear the Bible read in church, when we read it for ourselves, when we meditate on it, are we struck with awe? Or do we find it to be so familiar and “biblical” that it’s lost its punch?

Lord Christ, I confess that I have allowed your words to become old and stale. From this moment on, please help me to see your eternal truths with new and fresh eyes. May your Word challenge, refresh, and awe your people. Amen. 

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