And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29, ESV) 
and in another place and different circumstance:
When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
“We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
“Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. (John 7:45-47, NLT)
Jesus did make a mark as a teacher - some teacher this! He made statements or gave directions which may well confront. At one point or another all of the Gospels make reference to people being astonished or deeply offended by Jesus’ teaching. The guards felt that he spoke like no other before him.

And how could he speak in this way? It was only natural. He is the Lord (see previous post) and he, the Lord, speaks to us out of his generous kindness. He made no apology; he does not deliver ideas for contemplation or possible alternatives. No ordinary philosophy here. His words are the “new commandments”! People at the time found him perhaps “a bit much”!

He truly seeks your good and mine. Listen:
Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, CEV)
The passage comes from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount”, as it is called. (Luke has a comparable passage to this.) Does Jesus actually intend his words to be taken seriously by me and you? A little further on in the same chapter we read:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” (Matthew 7:24-27, NRSV)
That looks serious enough, surely. The images convey an awful finality. This is vital. The picture seems crystal clear - heeding Jesus the Lord is critically important.
What does he mean by “destruction” and “fall”? Was Jesus indicating the need to pay him heed and do really well rather than find a disaster, and a disaster without remedy at that? How could that be? Is this then simply exaggeration or oriental hyperbole or pictorial over-statement (eg, a camel passing through a needle's eye)?  It is hazardous, even foolish, to rely on that “let out”.
But - what about those to whom Jesus’ words have not come, for them to have opportunity to act upon them? Surely this passage is not directed to them! Who is it for? Originally Jesus of course spoke to his own people, those to whom he had come, as we read in this analysis:
He came into his own world,
but his own nation did not welcome him.
Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him.
So he gave them the right to be the children of God.
They were not God’s children by nature
or because of any human desires.
God himself was the one who made them his children. (John 1:11-13, CEV)
These were the people who were part of a deliberate community by choice based on God’s Word. Even if they lived under under various rulers they supremely acknowledged the one Law of God (referred to as “Moses”). They thought of themselves as the chosen people (of God).
The impression of the Gospels is that Jesus in his ministry had little contact with the non-Jewish population and rarely ventured far outside Judaea-Galilee. However, we do have clear indication of Jesus’ intention for the world, for such as you and I:
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:14-16, NIV)
Please notice the other sheep to listen to that voice, and the other pen. Similarly, we have the classic statement:
For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NLT)
The world in view, and everyone may believe in him.
And from after the resurrection:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”[d] (Matthew 28:18-20, NRSV)
“All nations” certainly includes us.
I think it is clear that Jesus had us in view; he wanted us. (The outworking of his plan was not without soul-searching, as can be seen in the NT documents following the Gospels.) Us also in view? Then you and I also are called on to take the route to life and shun the route to destruction; to act on what Jesus says, not be foolish. In other words the teaching is directed to you, who have heard. (And to me.) Incidentally, the "Jesus stuff" you “hear” from mass media, or social media, or bloggers (!!), or otherwise, may be useful - or not! There is no “quality control”. The vital thing is to read, or listen to, the records for yourself.

Jesus’ hearers had, and have, every reason to also become, and be, confident. Matthew records that option right there in that same location:
 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7: 7-11, NLT)
This is pictorial language but we have probably no need for explanation.  (Ask whom? Seek from whence? Knock on what?) The NLT version does add interpretation but Jesus’ assertion of God’s active goodness towards us is very clear - God is always accessible. God will be the heavenly parent you need, if you will trust him. Does this seem more acceptable or comfortable than the preceding? Please note that the receiving, the finding, the entry, still are conditional on asking, seeking, knocking. God knows.

The invitation from Jesus appears in different forms and contexts. He said to his listeners:
If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke[a] I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, CEV)
Working animals (oxen) were/are yoked together, neck to neck, with a cross beam (yoke) and the yoke connected to the load or task. Jesus offers a “yoke” to life with him and freedom from rebellion against God and the consequences due.

No doubt Jesus was addressing people worn out by the heavy burdens of religion and finding no internal peace. Genuine strugglers found it so hard to earn the (impossible) ticket to heaven. Their problem was added to by those who might have helped. See for example this advice and trenchant criticism Jesus gave in the last days of his ministry.
The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses. So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else. They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help.  (Matthew 23:2-4, CEV.)
You may know of current examples from our time.
The people to whom Jesus spoke would soon have relief from the burden of rule-keeping for salvation. He was about the pay the price to set them, and us, free. Moreover, every single one of his followers thereafter would have the only authorised interpreter at their side constantly. (That is another story I think!)

What Jesus said (and did) does contain imagery and comparisons which provide food for thought. The way to get to grips with Jesus’ teaching is of course to read the Gospels. Further insight into the message is available in the NT pages following the Gospels. (My post on a NT reading plan may be one way to do this.)

Not all of what Jesus said (ie, directed) is popular. (Why would it be?) Then keep the good bits? Is it really reasonable to expect to be able to pick and choose from the record? To extract “acceptable” teaching from Jesus? He is the light for the world, as John explained in his first chapter and as Jesus later stated himself:
Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.” (John 8:12, CEV)
Some people (at least some) did not welcome that claim. One final time Jesus gave his invitation:
Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (John 12:35-36, NIV)
The coming of that light had been spoken of in the words of Isaiah (OT prophet):
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:15-17, ESV)
And that last line has a brief encapsulation of Jesus’ teaching, very brief! The focus, very strong in Matthew, is the “Kingdom of Heaven”. Interestingly, cousin John ("the Baptiser") is reported earlier in the same words. However, there is more, much more, from Jesus. To unpack a little: How to enter God’s kingdom; what it means to live in the kingdom now; the will of the King for his subjects; the removal of the impenetrable border to the kingdom; the benefits of the kingdom; the ultimate revealing of the kingdom; threats to the subjects of the King; and the King of the kingdom. From that point in the account Jesus is shown heralding the news to those who stood in the line of the ancient people of God. It should have been good news.

ADDENDUM: Jesus proclaimed the imperative, "repent" (see above). The CEV renders "turn back to God". Was it right for Jesus to command them thus? After all, were not the daily sacrifices being offered as required? Did they not have their local synagogue to attend? Were they not God's own people? Today does Jesus actually command me and you to change our life (Petersen; The Message) and join his subjects?
I have no doubt about the answer to that!

Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NRSV) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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