“If we would have our amens accepted in heaven, let Christ’s amens be prevailing on earth; his repeated amens.” Matthew Henry
Jesus is so wonderfully emphatic! He uses this phrase “Amen, amen, I say to you…” twenty five times recorded in the book of John. It is an odd expression, not a commonly used idiom. In the Greek text it particularly sticks out because it is not Greek. He breaks out into Hebrew for the highest emphasis. (I bet he liked the sound of it!) When he says “Amen, amen…” it seems to me that he is making a point, a strong emphatic point. If he had a pulpit, he would be pounding it! That’s why I totally agree with Matthew Henry in the above quote. If we want what we affirm to be lined up with God’s will we had better follow the word of Jesus Christ. Jesus made it clear. He didn’t suggest it, or share it, he spoke clearly, emphatically and repeatedly!
Jesus speaks clearly and emphatically when people around him are not getting it. He does not give up and just shut up. The book of John records several long conversations that Jesus had with a group of men who did not believe him at all. In fact, most in the group simply wanted to catch him in some statement where they could discredit him. But Jesus, who knew this, keeps strongly speaking the truth to them. It seems to me that this is what our lukewarm society needs. Should we really be speaking quieter, softer, and with less emphasis when our culture is getting more diverse and cloudy? There is a pressure on Christians to believe less and proclaim never. One of the highest American values is to be cool and not to offend anyone. “Please just like my pics!” What would Jesus do? He spoke the truth with courage. It is true that they killed him for it, but he knew that would happen!
Ok, one big caution. I am not saying that we should run around yelling at people and looking for ways to offend them. I am not saying we should picket funerals, for example. That is not what Jesus did. He was in the conversation, not some freak outside of the conversation. Honestly it seems to me that Jesus and Paul tried to stay in the conversation for as long as the other party would hang with them. BUT, Christian communication should be salty! We should have something to SAY!
In closing, let’s think about two of these highly emphasized statements of Jesus.
““Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. John 10:1
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7
In our pluralistic culture the truth needs to be made clear in contrast to its competition. In the first saying Jesus is making it plain that the alternatives to God’s way are destructive. If someone is making up some innovative approach to being right with God he is wrong and the approach is deadly. In John 10:10 Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” We ought not admire them for their sincerity or effort. They are not just offering a different way, they are dangerous. Jesus proclaims that these challengers are not to be trusted.
Next he proclaims that he is the door exclusively. He is the means of access to God, and the only means. The others are toxic while he is the exclusive means of connection with God. Now that is diversity! Jesus is wholesome, helpful, and effective, while any other means is deadly! This is a great truth and deserves to be boldly proclaimed.
Let Christ’s amens be prevailing on earth!