They were astonished (exeplhssonto). Pictorial imperfect as in Luke 4:32 describing the amazement of the audience, "meaning strictly to strike a person out of his senses by some strong feeling, such as fear, wonder, or even joy" (Gould). And not as their scribes (kai ouc w oi grammatei). Luke 4:32 has only "with authority" (en exousiai). Mark has it "as having authority" (w ecwn exousian). He struck a note not found by the rabbi. They quoted other rabbis and felt their function to be expounders of the traditions which they made a millstone around the necks of the people. By so doing they set aside the word and will of God by their traditions and petty legalism ( Mark 7:9Mark 7:13 ). They were casuists and made false interpretations to prove their punctilious points of external etiquette to the utter neglect of the spiritual reality. The people noticed at once that here was a personality who got his power (authority) direct from God, not from the current scribes. "Mark omits much, and is in many ways a meagre Gospel, but it makes a distinctive contribution to the evangelic history in showing by a few realistic touches (this one of them) the remarkable personality of Jesus" (Bruce). See on Matthew 7:29 for the like impression made by the Sermon on the Mount where the same language occurs. The chief controversy in Christ's life was with these scribes, the professional teachers of the oral law and mainly Pharisees. At once the people see that Jesus stands apart from the old group. He made a sensation in the best sense of that word. There was a buzz of excitement at the new teacher that was increased by the miracle that followed the sermon.