The crowds respond to Jesus' teaching as disciples and crowds often responded to his other acts: with awe (8:27; 9:8; 12:23; 22:33; compare Jn 7:46). What astonished them so much about Jesus' teaching was not his use of proverbs, parables, hyperboles or other standard pedagogic devices of his day; what astonished them was his claim to authority, a theme that climaxes in Matthew 28:18. Other Jewish teachers regularly cited earlier sages' opinions, and though later teachers sometimes came to regard their tradition as tantamount to God's Word, Jesus' contemporaries never would have claimed, like Jesus, that people would be judged according to how they treated their words.
With greater authority than the scribes who expound the law, greater authority than Moses who gave it (5:1), the authority indeed of the One who will judge humanity on the final day (7:21-23), Jesus declares God's word, and the people recognize that he speaks with authority unlike their other teachers.
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