What would you think if someone began his prayer by saying “amen” before commencing with the rest of the prayer? How do we use this term “amen?” It is transliterated from Hebrew, meaning, “It shall be so,” and it is typically in response to or at the end of a statement.
Jesus, however, used it differently in his teachings, drawing anticipatory attention to what is about to be said. In this lesson, we are going to take a look at some of these instances where Jesus proclaimed, “Amen,” before teaching.
Let It Be So
Motivation – Matthew 6:2. Where “verily” or “assuredly” is said, the Hebrew word is “amen,” and here Jesus is using contribution, fasting, and prayer as illustrations. He speaks of the hypocrites who are motivated by the attention others give them. Yes, good is being accomplished, but the actions are meaningless before God because of the motivation.
Contrast this with Matthew 10:40-42 where Jesus speaks of humble acts of kindness that are noticed by and rewarded by God. What is the difference between these big acts and these small ones? Motivation.
Faith – Matthew 8:5. A centurion comes to Jesus seeking help for his servant. In this, Jesus makes the observation that none in Israel have demonstrated such great faith. Jesus prefaces this statement with, “In truth,” or “Amen.” In Matthew 10:14-15, this faith is contrasted with another “amen” statement for those that reject the apostle’s teaching.
In both of these cases, though, Jesus makes reference to those the Jews looked down on a lesson about faith. When we feel assured in our own faith, whose standards are we measuring by – God’s or our own?
The Kingdom – Matthew 11:11. Jesus makes an “amen” statement regarding the greatness of John, but He goes on to use this to illustrate the importance of belonging to God’s kingdom. We have an opportunity John never had: to be participants in God’s spiritual kingdom that is open to all people. See also Matthew 18:3-6 in how our status on Earth contrast our spiritual existence.
What motivates us? How would Jesus look at the faith we demonstrate? What importance do I place on God’s kingdom, and how am I involved? Jesus paints a clear picture for us, and our response should be to follow these expectations.
lesson by Tim Smelser