This is a picture of teaching with authority: my inside coming out. Nothing gory or gut-spilling, but just this:
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
There was something about Jesus’ teaching that stood out from the teachers they had known. What was it? What gave the Lord’s teaching such outstanding authority? Was it that he spoke truth, and they spoke lies?
Sixteen chapters later, I get a hint:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.
The actual content of their teaching was good—Jesus even said to obey it! But their living example contradicted their words. Jesus said to do what they say, not what they do.
Mere content is not what gave authority to Jesus’ teaching. The Pharisees had the content but not the authority that amazed people.
What gives credibility and authority to teaching is a life that backs it up. Jesus’ teaching was significantly different from the Pharisees’—so different that the crowds who compared both were “amazed”! (In the first two chapters of the Gospel of Mark, amazement was always connected with authority.)
Jesus taught “with real authority” because he lived what he taught, and he knew it to be unwaveringly true. He did not teach mere sayings or passed-down traditions that were dead and meaningless to him, but living words that kept him alive and excited. Jesus’ teaching was inside-out; the truths were already inside, and they overflowed out. He did not teach what was external to himself.
Father, help. May I never speak or teach what I do not live.
Competence is different from knowledge, because knowing is not the same as doing. Competence means that you have progressed beyond knowing what to do, to doing what you know.
– Guy Kawasaki, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, page 32.
For The High Calling book club:
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
by Guy Kawasaki
Laura Boggess leads our May 16 discussion on Chapters 3 and 4 here.