The Astonishing Christ


          According to Strong, the compound Greek word explesso which is translated “astonished” in Matthew 7:28 has a root which denotes the idea of “flattening out”.

          By the age of twelve, Jesus was “running people over” (or as we might say, “He was blowing them away”): “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46-47).

          Early in His ministry, His teaching in Capernaum’s synagogue bowled His hearers over. “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22).

          The multitudes who heard His incomparable sermon on righteousness when He went up on a mount and taught them “were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).

          The audience of five—Jairus, his wife, Peter, James, and John—who witnessed the resurrection of a twelve-year-old maiden “were overcome with great astonishment” (Mark 5:42) when it occurred.

          The residents of Nazareth who watched Jesus grow from a young child to a man were astonished at His teaching and asked, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” (Matthew 13:54).

          The citizens of Decapolis who witnessed His healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment “were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’” (Mark 7:37).

          The disciples who heard Jesus’ exclamation of “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23) “were astonished at His words” (Mark 10:24). His declaration that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25) provoked great astonishment in them (Mark 10:26).

          When Jesus cleansed the temple during the final week of His public ministry (Mark 11:15-16), He declared it had been degraded from a house of prayer to a den of thieves. His fearless deeds and words engendered violent, murderous intentions from the scribes and chief priests (Mark 11:17). They sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching” (Mark 11:18).

          On the day of His final public conflict with His antagonists, Jesus’ response to the Herodians (Matthew 22:16-21) and then to the Sadducees (Matthew 22:23-32) provoked the multitude who heard to be astonished at His teaching (Matthew 22:33).

          The New Testament documents nine different occasions in which Jesus astonished His contemporaries: His insight into spiritual matters as a youth; the content and manner of His teaching during His ministry; His power over disease, disability, and death; His certain knowledge on essential matters concerning eternal life; His fearless confrontations with evil doers; and His matchless argumentation which logically and completely refuted His antagonists.

          Are you astonished by Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God?

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Author: jchowning

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