His teaching made a deep impression on them, because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority. (Mark 1,22)
Charismatic, we would call it. Fascinating and dangerous, Scholars are always told to name their sources and the scribes were good scholars.
Their opinions were always backed by references to the Law and the Prophets – a very safe way of proceeding for both speaker and hearer. We all have a merited suspicion of the human capacity for deception of ourselves and others. Charismatic utterance can be faked or misleading, the platform of charlatans.
It invites us to drop our critical faculty and caution and surrender ourselves to the speaker.
So it is wise to check. What else do we know about this orator?
If it is no more than we can see on television or a stage, the answer is practically nothing.
We reserve our judgement accordingly. The followers of Jesus were not those of Twitter.
They lived with him and saw him die. And what they tell us is that his charism could be trusted. His wisdom came from within himself and he had no need to hark back to what others had said.
Ultimately, his life was his word – and his Father’s.
Fr R. Hendrie,
St Luke’s, Banknock