“I tell you the truth…” (Matthew 5:26; Matthew 6:2; Matthew 6:5; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 8:10; Matthew 10:15; Matthew 10:42; Matthew 11:11; Matthew 16:28; Matthew 18:3; Matthew 18:13; Matthew 18:18; Matthew 18:19; Matthew 19:23; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 21:21; Matthew 21:31; Matthew 23:36; Matthew 24:2; Matthew 24:34; Matthew 24:47; Matthew 25:12; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 25:45; Matthew 26:13; Matthew 26:21; Matthew 26:34; Mark 3:28; Mark 8:12; Mark 9:1; Mark 9:41; Mark 10:15; Mark 10:29; Mark 11:23; Mark 12:43; Mark 13:30; Mark 14:18; Mark 14:25; Mark 14:30; Luke 4:24; Luke 12:37; Luke 18:17; Luke 18:29; Luke 21:32; John 1:51; John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:11; John 5:19; John 5:24; John 5:25; John 6:26; John 6:32; John 6:47; John 6:53; John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58; John 10:1; John 10:7; John 12:24; John 13:16; John 13:20; John 13:21; John 13:38; John 14:12; John 16:20; John 16:23; John 21:18)
That long list of references is the nearly seventy times that Jesus is quoted as having said, “I tell you the truth…” or, in the newest version of the NIV, “Very truly I tell you.” In Greek, the word is “Amen,” which is familiar to anyone who has prayed before (and even those who haven’t). The fact that Jesus said it so many times means that not only was he concerned with the truth, but he wanted to communicate that what he had to say was the truth.
Do you believe Jesus when he says he is telling the truth?
No doubt every Christian would say, “Of course I do!” But if we examine our attitudes and actions, we’d have to confess that we don’t always act like we do. There are many voices in the world telling us, “I tell you the truth…” and then telling us everything but. Yet, our sinful nature likes those false truths and follows their urgings.
This is why we need to pay attention to the truth from Jesus. See, Jesus didn’t just claim to be telling the truth – he backed it up. He backed it up with references to the Scriptures that clearly pointed to him. He backed it up with miracles that demonstrated he was from God. He backed it up with authoritative preaching and teaching that cut through every argument. He backed it up with the biggest miracle of all – predicting his own death and resurrection, and then seeing it through. That’s proof positive that when he said, “I tell you the truth…” he was, in fact, telling the truth.
And the most important truth he told us is that God so loved the world, that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
- Do I believe Jesus when he says that he is telling me the truth? How do my attitudes and actions bear out what I believe?
- What are some “worldly truth statements” I’ve been tempted to believe, or to put into practice in my life recently? How have they affected my relationship with my Lord? With others?
- Jesus resurrection proves that everything he said is true. But some things Jesus said are challenging. What statements of Jesus am I having trouble understanding or accepting?
- Jesus told us that “God so loved the world.” I’m part of the world. How does this truth affect the things I’ve just reflected on? How is it going to affect my day?