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When Jesus is Trying to Get Your Attention

Jesus used parables to entertain anyone who was willing to listen to his stories. Yet, Jesus makes a transitional statement 78 times in the four gospels of the Bible. The phrase “I tell you the truth” is a powerful method to get your attention as Jesus turns an interesting story into a serious conversation. In the words that follow “I tell you the truth,” this is code for pay close attention to what I am about to say.

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life. 25 Believe Me when I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the time is coming and is here now when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear it shall live, John 5:24-25.

Back in my days as a high school Bible teacher, I wasn’t trying to fool or trick anyone. There were usually 3 tests per semester depending upon the class. During each unit review, I would throw in some catch phrases whenever I was about to cover a potential test question. In the case of Jesus, whenever the Bible contains “I tell you the truth,” mouths should stop taking as eager ears open, ready to listen and learn.

Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. 26 When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him], Ephesians 4:25-27.

From an English perspective, therefore is used to introduce a logical conclusion. If X must be true, anytime you come across a therefore while reading the Bible, get ready for a call to action. Meanwhile, Jesus uses parables to make people think. As the disciples pondered what Jesus was trying to communicate, they often privately met with Him to confirm the moral of these stories. As you continue to read the Bible on your own, be ready the next time the Holy Spirit is trying to get your attention.

by Jay Mankus


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