The Great Amen

The Covington News - - Religion -

Can I get an “Amen”? Have you ever heard that ques­tion asked? Do you know why? As a child grow­ing up, for a while I thought that word “Amen” just meant “ the end.” That’s what we said at the end of the prayer. That’s what the pas­tor said at the end of the ser­mon. But, I’ve learned, that’s not what that word means, es­pe­cially since it is the fifth word of my col­umn to­day. So what does it mean?

The word comes from the He­brew word that would sound some­thing like “ aman” and has in it the pic­ture of a rock. “Amen” says that what­ever was just said is ab­so­lutely solid, un­mov­able, true. And to­day — we get a great Amen to this Epiphany sea­son ( where we see Je­sus “ re­vealed” as true God), an Amen to Je­sus’ work, and an Amen to our whole sys­tem of faith.

The Gospel Les­son from Matthew 17 tells the story of when Je­sus went up on that moun­tain­top with Peter, James, and John, and there his face shone like the sun. Moses and Eli­jah ap­peared to talk with him, and the Fa­ther’s own voice de­clared Je­sus his beloved son with whom he was well pleased. Now in this read­ing from 2 Peter, one of those eye­wit­nesses talks about how cer­tain that made him that Je­sus was who he had been say­ing he was — true God. In other words, there was that “Amen” in what he had seen and heard.

In Peter’s words: “ 16 We did not fol­low clev­erly in­vented sto­ries when we told you about the power and com­ing of our Lord Je­sus Christ, but we were eye­wit­nesses of his majesty.”

Our faith is based on cer­tainty. The one the Fa­ther spoke about on that moun­tain was not just a good guy who led a great ex­am­ple of a life. His life was the per­fect life of God in our place — and that moun­tain­top re­vealed it again. His death was not just the death of a great man, it was the in­no­cent death of God made flesh, in our place.

Do you see how Je­sus on this Trans­fig­u­ra­tion moun­tain­top ver­i­fies God’s word, about the one com­ing, as Daniel records, he was “ One like a son of man, com­ing with the clouds of heaven. He ap­proached the An­cient of Days and was led into his pres­ence”? That’s what Je­sus did on that hill­top. And then he went to that other hill­top Peter and the apos­tles would write about — Cal­vary, where we see the word of the prophets firm­ing up in our eyes as it is ful­filled, where Je­sus was, as Isa­iah had promised so many years be­fore, “ Pierced for our trans­gres­sions, crushed for our in­iq­ui­ties,” where the “ pun­ish­ment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.” This isn’t just some story. It is Amen be­cause of what we have seen and heard. Isn’t it?

But, just in case the eye­wit­ness ac­count isn’t enough for you, Peter goes on in verse 19, “ We have a more cer­tain thing, the prophetic word.”

Even more cer­tain than any­thing our eyes can see or our hands can touch, we have God’s own word, his prom­ises that can never be shaken, never be de­nied, never be bro­ken. In other words, they are rock- like. God’s word is al­ways “Amen!”

Pas­tor Jonathan E. Scharf Abid­ing Grace Lutheran


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