Verily, Verily

Thursday, December 28

Most modern versions record Jesus as saying  “I tell you the truth” when addressing the crowds or in private with his disciples.  He used the phrase six times in that upper room the day before he was crucified:  John 13:16, 20, 21, 14:12, 16:7, 20.  This replaces the “verily, verily” of the KJV.  The word “verily” is rooted in the word “truth,” i.e., verify, verity.  So “I tell you the truth” is accurate and avoids the antiquated “verity, verity.”  This doesn’t imply that Jesus at times failed to tell the truth, but that what he was saying was very important, that they needed to understand it and be alert to what was coming.  It’s no a surprise that Jesus emphasized the importance of his instructions in light of the traumatic events that were to begin the next day.  His instructions would be more meaningful once those traumatic events began to unfold, but as Jesus said, they would remember what he said when the time came. If anyone has the right to use “I tell you the truth,” it would be Jesus.  He said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  That is not said with arrogance or pride; it’s a fact that is crucial for any and all human beings.  One’s eternal destiny is at stake.  It can’t be any more important than that.

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