“And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22
I’ve been teaching and preaching for more than twenty years and I have to admit that, to my knowledge, no one has ever been astonished by what I’ve taught. I know that things I’ve said, combined with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, have changed people’s minds, convinced people of the truth of Bible doctrine and even at times moved them to tears of confession to God but never has anyone acted like, or said that, they were astonished by what they were taught.
I think that perhaps a part of the dynamics leading to the people’s reaction to Jesus was the cultural values they placed on religious teachers and the typical content of the material these teachers had been presenting.
In first century Palestine the scriptures were too expensive for most people to own so access for most people was limited to what they were able to get at the synagogue. Yet they had been taught that they needed to know, understand and be obedient to the law if they were to be accepted and blessed by God. This resulted in them becoming very dependent upon the teachers whom they believed were bringing them life saving knowledge.
But these teachers were not so much seeking knowledge from God as they were looking for scripture to validate their own thoughts, values, and ambitions. This resulted in a lot of very righteous sounding, yet spiritually empty messages.
Then Jesus came teaching with authority and confidence a message that nourished their hearts, rang true to the message of the scriptures, and was in harmony with what the Holy Spirit was convicting their hearts to do. They’d been thirsty for life giving truth so long they were astonished when it came into their midst.
I think the difference now is that so many people are just not really looking anymore. That’s why they’re not surprised. And we’re often part of this distracted, disinterested world. We need to pray that God would awaken our hearts to our need, make us hunger and thirst for righteousness, and lead us into the message Jesus would teach us today