Perhaps the most amazing thing about Jesus is that he claimed to know the Truth. He reckoned he knew what was right and what was wrong; where men and women came from and where they were heading.
There is a great paradox here. His gentleness and humility are pervaded by a massive sense of his own authority. He had the most extraordinary opinion of himself that is reflected in everything he said or did. He failed to rebuke those who bowed in humility before him, but more scandalous still, he offered people the forgiveness of sins, which God alone has the right to give.
'The person who hears my words and acts upon them is like a wise man', said Jesus, 'and he who hears my words but does not act is a fool'. In refuting popular traditions, he appealed to no higher authority than himself: 'You have heard it said of old... but I say to you...' He claimed that he personally fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah and that he would be the central figure on the great day of Judgement. 'Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord...Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil people.'
He saw God as his Father but in a unique way: 'Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. No-one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.' 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father but by me.' 'If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.' 'The Father and I are one.'
How did his audience react? At the end of the Sermon on the Mount it is recorded, 'His teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, unlike their own teachers'.
How did the religious teachers react? They were appalled! 'How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming.' What did they say to him? 'You are only a man, and you claim to be God.'