When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matt. 7:28-29)
What kind of authority is this referring to? Consider that “teachers of the law” is describing those ecclesiastical teachers of the Jewish institution at that time. This statement in Matthew describes that Jesus had greater authority than these “teachers of the law.”
This is describing the authority of God. Jesus was the messenger and representative of God. Many who claim to be Christians will criticize this statement, thinking that somehow being empowered by God and given authority by God denigrates Jesus’ position.
But they must be asked: What higher authority could Jesus possibly have, if not the authority of the Supreme Being? Could there be any higher source of authority?
Many ecclesiastical Christians claim that Jesus was the Supreme Being, coming embodied onto the earth to die for our sins. This is a ludicrous proposal because, first of all, the Supreme Being never dies.
The Supreme Being controls both the physical and the spiritual kingdoms, and the Supreme Being does not need to "die" to cleanse our sins.
The Supreme Being already has the ability to cleanse our sins. This is why Jesus recommended in his Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) that we ask the Supreme Being to forgive our sins.
God has the authority and power to cleanse our sins immediately and effectively, just by willing it. In fact, by simply sincerely thinking of Him, praying to Him and praising Him, we can become purified. This is because God is pure, and we simply have to come into contact with Him to become purified.
Second of all, God remains God. He does not become affected by or subjected to the sins of others. Nor does He succumb to sacrifice. The Supreme Being is the controller of the universe. He is not subject to any rules of sacrifice.
Likewise, because Jesus is the servant, messenger and representative of the Supreme Being, his direct presence, his words, and his touch can be purifying. Because Jesus’ thoughts and his entire life was centered around doing God’s will, he is pure, and those who came into contact with him became purified. It is for this reason that Jesus was able cleanse people and heal people. It was not Jesus’ power or authority that rendered this ability: It was his devotion to the Supreme Being that gave him this purification power.
In the quote above, Jesus came upon a man with leprosy when coming down from his sermon on the hill. The man asked to be healed. Jesus obliged, saying, “I am willing.” And then, “Be clean!” Following this, Jesus spoke the statement above.
Why would Jesus tell the leper not to tell anyone? He instructed him to go to his priest and offer “the gift Moses commanded.”
What was this gift Jesus wanted the man to offer? And why would something Moses commanded be considered a gift?
“The gift Moses commanded” would be none other than making an offering to the Supreme Being in the mood of that instruction emphasized by Moses multiple times: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:4)
Making an offering to God with love and devotion is not unlike making an offering to a someone we want to have a relationship with. It is the extending of ourselves with love and friendship. When we make an offering to someone, we are saying that we want to have a relationship with them. We like them and want to be with them.
Offering to the Supreme Being is not so different. It is an ancient practice, yet we know from Jesus' statement, that he maintained and suggested this practice to his followers.
And why did Jesus instruct the man not to tell anyone? Remember Jesus' statement in Matthew 6:5-6:
"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
This confirms that Jesus was not interested in public appearance. He was not interested in claiming many followers, or impressing crowds with his authority. He simply wanted to personally please the Supreme Being, and wanted each of us to re-develop our loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
While the ecclesiastical Christian world seems mesmerized by the gruesome torture and crucifixion brought upon Jesus by the Romans and Jewish high priests, the actual gift that Jesus brought to us, which would not only cleanse our sins but perfect our lives, is the instruction to love and serve God with all our hearts: And to do His will, not our will. It is only by utilizing and applying this instruction do we become saved:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Devotional Translation - translated from the original Greek texts.)