A Commentary by John Stott

Matthew 7:28-29. Conclusion: who is this preacher?

6. Jesus’ authority as the Son of God.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us a comprehensive doctrine of God. He is the creator, the living God of the natural order, who gives sunshine and rain, and supplies birds with food, flowers with clothing and human beings with the necessities of life. He is also the King, whose righteous and saving rule has irrupted into human lives through Jesus. But above all – again through Jesus – he is our Father. Addressing his disciples, Jesus constantly referred to him as ‘your Father in heaven’, whose children they were, whose mercy they must copy, whose loving providence they must trust and to whom they must come confidently in prayer, knowing that he will never give them anything but ‘good gifts’.

In all these sayings Jesus called God ‘*your* Father’. Then once he referred to ‘the will of *my* Father’ (Mt.7:21). Never, however, did he include himself with his disciples and speak of God as ‘our Father’. Of course he taught *them* to pray ‘Our Father’ (Mt.6:9), but he was not associating himself with them. Indeed, he could not. For although he gave his followers the privilege of addressing God by the same intimate title which he himself used (‘Abba, Father’), yet still he was deeply conscience that God was his Father in a sense altogether different, indeed unique. This he was later to express in a saying which Matthew also records: ‘All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ (Mt.11:27). This exclusive Sonship Jesus did not explicitly claim or state in the Sermon on the Mount, but it is already implicit in his precise use of the personal possessives ‘my Father, ‘our Father’, ‘your Father’.

Tomorrow: The authority of Jesus as God.

The John Stott Bible Study is taken from The Message of the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible Speaks Today John Stott. Used by permission of Inter-Varsity Press UK, Nottingham. All rights reserved.