Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | March 27, 2015

March 27, 2015 “The Real Deal!”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:29)

Good Morning My Beloved Friends!

When I was a boy learning to pray as my parents taught me, it was usually either at mealtime or at the end of the day, just before I went to sleep that I would pray. Though the mealtime prayer differed from the nighttime prayer in most respects, both would conclude in the same way…with the word “Amen”. Many of the hymns that I learned as a child also concluded with that fascinating word. I came to think that “Amen” was sort of like saying, ““OK, now we’re done.” In my mind, it was like putting a period, or more of an exclamation point, at the conclusion of the prayer or hymn. Later on, I learned that this word had a more profound meaning. Roughly translated, “Amen” means “Truly” or, more simply “Yes”. To say it at the conclusion of a prayer or at the conclusion of a hymn was akin to saying, “Truly, this is what I believe”, or “Yes, that is what I meant to say.”  Later still, I learned that the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, after expounding on a scripture reading or teaching on some particular subject, would close their teaching with that same word…”Amen.” This was to verify that they believed what they had just taught was true. It was always said at the end of the teaching, and not at the beginning, the reason being that they realized that all human teaching was prone to error, and they did not want to risk “pre-endorsing” what they were about to say, because they might say something that was not true. They would not assume the authority of their teaching before speaking it.  Now along comes Jesus, also recognized as a teacher, but when he teaches, he does something that astounds his audience. He BEGINS his teaching with the “Amen”, and not only once, but twice! The familiar phrase “Truly, truly I say to you” which Jesus often employed when he taught, in his language was “Amen, Amen lego humin“. Why was this so astounding? Because Jesus did what no other teacher would presume to do…he verified, and doubly verified at that…the things he was about to say as being completely reliable and totally true. This is why the crowds were so astonished, “ for he taught them as one who had authority”. It was akin to saying “What I am telling you is the truth, beyond the shadow of a doubt. You can take it to the bank.” Only a complete egotist or a prevaricator, or the genuine article would dare to teach as Jesus taught. Jesus was, and is, the “real deal.” While other teachers offered suggestions as to how to live, Jesus, by his very life, demonstrated how to live. Theologian Karl Barth said this of Jesus:

“Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is Himself the way.”

Jesus brought more than wise quotes on how to live a life. He brought the authority of the Divine Son of the Living God, teaching, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Yes! Yes! Truly! Truly! Let’s pray!

Lord Jesus; You are the very embodiment of the Truth. I hear, and I believe, for You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! You are Lord of all…Lord of my life, and I worship you with my whole being. Amen! Amen!

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