AMEN! You’ve heard that word probably millions of times, especially if you grew up in a Pentecostal church like I did. And you’ve probably said it almost as much as you’ve heard it. We probably tend to say it simply out of habit. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to say after prayers and when the preacher is giving his sermon, right? Well, this morning’s Sunrise Devotion/Faith Focus Prayer Call with Pastor Matthew Brown really challenged me to be purposeful and deliberate when I say “amen.” It is more than just a way of saying “that sounds good, Pastor” during the message, or a way of ritualistically saying “The End” when you finish a prayer. It is a declaration of affirmation. It is our agreement to what has been said…not just to confirm what’s been said, but to invoke the fulfillment of what’s been said. It is to say that we not only acknowledge what has been spoken, but we pledge, we vow, we promise to see it through.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Amen is used over and over again in the Old Testament to affirm. In its usage meaning “so be it,” it is said to be of Hebrew origin and comes from the triliteral (meaning to have three consonants, or triconsonantal) root alef-mem-nun (א-מנון) which means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe. The Hebrew word for faith emuna comes from this same root. In this usage, amen is used in three distinct ways.
1. The initial amen is used to back up or support words made by another speaker and introducing an affirmative statement. We see this is I Kings 1:36.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declareit.
2. The detached amen backs up the words of another speaker, but there is no affirmative statement to follow. An example of this is seen in Nehemiah 5:13.
I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they hadpromised.
3. The final amen , with no change of speaker, gives a closing affirmation to a statement. This is seen at the end of the first three divisions of Psalms, as in Psalm 41:13.
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
Now, let’s explore the initial amen a little further. In its Old Testament usage, the initial amen always came after a statement to affirm what had already been stated by another speaker. But we see something new and exciting happen with the use of the initial amen in the New Testament, specifically in the Gospels. The usage of the initial amen is ONLY used by Jesus and He does not use it as a backward reference to what anyone else has said, but to affirm His OWN statements!! Instead of referring to the words of a previous speaker, Jesus introduces a new thought. In this usage, amen means “verily” or “I tell you the truth.” There is no parallel to this in the Old Testament. Never before or after Jesus do you see in scripture where amen is used prior to a statement to affirm the statement that is yet to be said that has not been said by anyone else. I believe that is because no one had the authority to back up his own word as absolute truth but Jesus, who is The Truth!!! (Let me stop, shout, run around the room a few times and get in my praise break. I’ll be right back!!)
(Insert shouting music here.)
Okay, I’m back!! Whew!! That was good! I hope you caught it! Jesus is the only One who says amen before He says what He’s going to say. He’s not backing up what someone else has just said; He’s actually introducing a new thought. He’s setting precedents, establishing authority, changing and shifting paradigms. Jesus is the prototype of the Law fulfilled, the provision for salvation, the foundation for sanctification, the basis for transformation, the model for submission, the bedrock of truth…because He is The Truth! And because He is The Truth, He can back up His Word as truth. So He says amen to His own Words.
Deeper still, let’s look at the certainty of God’s Word. Hebrews 6:13 tells us “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself.” God wanted Abraham to be assured that His promise to him would be fulfilled. He wanted to put the amen on His word, and having no authority higher than Himself to swear by, He swore by Himself. God, the Absolute, the Totality of Truth, the Beginning and Ending of All Things, the Who Was-Who Is-Who Is To Come, the Originator of Light, the Creator of the universe, backed up His Word by Himself.
God backs up His own Word, just as we see Jesus do in the Gospels. When Jesus speaks, He starts with the amen!! He doesn’t tag the amen on the end of His statement, He puts it at the beginning. Jesus stands on the authority that He knows He has as the Son of God. He is the fulfillment of God’s promise. He is the witness of God in the earth. He is the beginning of God’s creation. Revelation 3:14 calls Him the “Amen!” Come on, catch this…Jesus is the Amen! Let’s look at that scripture!
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.”
I like the way the Message Bible says it.
“Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says…”
Isn’t that powerful? Jesus is God’s YES!!! Jesus is God’s AMEN! Jesus, the fulfillment of the promise! Jesus, the “So Be It!” Jesus, the “Affirmation of God’s Word.” Jesus, the AMEN!!! WOW!!
What does that mean for us? Well, the first chapter of John lets us know that Jesus is the Word, the manifestation of God’s thinking, through whom all things were created, who is Life and Light. We know that as we meditate upon the Word and walk in that Light, our minds are renewed, our thinking is changed and we become more like Him. He lives in us, His Word is made manifest in us; therefore, we become the living word. The Promise of God is within us! Not only are we able to live as Jesus lived and do what Jesus did, but we follow His example of being the model for submission. While Jesus is “The Amen,” while He is “God’s Yes”, He still had to submit to the will of God and say amen to the death of the cross. As Jesus said amen – because He lives in us, and is the fulfillment of God’s promise – we too can say amen. We are not simply saying, “Amen, I acknowledge Your Word, I agree with the prophecy, I believe the promise, or I have faith in the process,” but we are saying, “Amen, it is so and so it is!” Our amen is not just acknowledging or agreeing with the word, the promise, the prophecy, the process, the purpose, the pain, but it is invoking the fulfillment of what’s been said, what’s been started, what’s been implemented , what’s been planted, what we’ve been impregnated with! We say “Amen and Amen!” “Lord, I agree; so be it!” We say, “Lord, I agree, and I make a solemn oath, a promise, to walk this out in my life; therefore, I will obey, I will submit, I will love, I will forgive, I will sacrifice, I will resign, I will say yes!”
Even as Mary said amen when she said in Luke 1:38, “Be it unto me, according to your word,” let us say amen! Even as Jesus said amen when He said in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Not only did they agree with it, but they went through it. Even when it seems impossible, as I’m sure it seemed to Mary, still say amen. Even when it looks unbearable, as it had to look to Jesus, still say amen. The Word WILL be accomplished in you, the work WILL be completed in you, the dream WILL come to pass through you, the purpose WILL be fulfilled by you, because the Amen, the Yes of God, the Fulfillment and Manifestation of the Promise, lives on the inside of You. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, because GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU!!!
And remember, as you say yes and amen, as you walk it out, you will have DAILY ENCOUNTERS WITH GOD!