He alone could ‘amen’ Himself!

The minister began his lesson to a congregation filled with future ministers, and all of those preacher wannabes began amening (bombastic: AMEN!; timid: er, amen; emphatic: a-MEN!; dramatic: Ay-MEH-yen!; ecclesiastical: Ah-men!). I thought, I’ve never amened a sermon. Here’s my chance! With all of them going on, no one will notice my fumbling attempts.

The preacher shouted: “You young people tell your parents, ‘Everybody else is doing it! Everybody else is getting drunk. Everybody else is doing drugs. Everybody else is sleeping around.’ Well, I got news for you…” (And I thought, Here comes my opportunity.) “…Everybody else is going to HELL!” I yelled, “AMEN!” Those preacher students were stone-silent, staring blankly at me. I instantly melted and dribbled under the pews.

By the first century the Jews had been amen-ing speakers for over a thousand years. The people would say “Amen!” when the Levites recited the 12 curses atop Mt. Ebal (Deut. 27:15-26). Three psalms close with “Amen and Amen” (41:13; 72:19; 89:52).

But Jesus used “Amen” in a new way. Rather than amen-ing some great saying, he would amen his own sayings, often double amening (the KJV’s familiar “Verily, verily I say unto thee” is really “Amen, Amen I say...”). Plus, he did it before he said it, not after, as tradition dictated. Prophets said, “Thus says the Lord.” Scribes said, “As Rabbi Hillel of blessed memory used to say....” But Jesus says, “Amen, Amen, I tell you,” teaching with authority, and not as the scribes (Matt. 7:29).

Furthermore, Jesus is the significance of Amen. One translation of Amen is “So be it!” Jesus is the means by which God’s promises are fulfilled, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV).

Whenever you say "Amen," remember the Lord. Because of what He has done and is doing, you can confidently approach the throne of grace. Because of who He is, your life has meaning. Secure in Him, you can look at all of life's difficulties and challenges and boldly say, "So be it!"

—Steve Singleton