I am an Orthodox Christian priest. I have been Orthodox my entire life and a priest since July 2007. From my perspective, in America at least, we have lost the functional understanding of our Orthodox Christian Faith. We must take seriously that our Traditions have purpose and are not a just a litany of tasks and obligations we must perform. To "boil down" the Faith to that creates an environment I believe is what the Apostle Paul taught against. Glory to God.
LIVE STREAM Bible Study Guide
The Book of Acts 22.17 – 23.5 – Homily 48
March 30, 2016
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: March 30, 2016 & Every Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EST
- What: A Bible Study on the Book of Acts
- Click on the Link Below to Download the Study Guide for March 30:
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Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on March 30, 2016 – Session 49
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES; A BIBLE STUDY ON THE BOOK OF ACTS
Based upon the Homilies of St John Chrysostom (SJC)
Study Guide – March 30, 2016, Acts 22.17 – 23.5 Homily 48
Prayer before reading of the Holy Scriptures: Shine within our hearts, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds that we may comprehend the message of Your Gospel. Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments so that, having conquered sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, thinking and doing all those things which are pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your all holy, good and life giving Spirit, always now and forever and to the ages of ages.
Chapter 22 v. 17-21 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance “and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ “So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. ‘And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ “Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’
Paul thrust himself into danger by entering the Temple as he did.
This vision was not a phantom, but the Lord Himself.
The Lord told Paul the Jews would not receive his testimony, and they didn’t
SJC “Here he established two things: both that they are without excuse, since they persecuted him contrary to all likelihood of calculation of reason; and, that Christ was God, as prophesying things contrary to expectation, and as not looking to past things, but foreknowing the things to come.”
Paul leaves because God told him to leave, even though the Jews ‘should have’ believed since Paul was a great persecutor of the Christians.
Chapter 22 v. 22-25 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”
Going to the Gentiles was too much for the Jews to bear as they were filled with jealousy. SJC “The Jews would not endure to hear out all his harangue, but excessively fired by their wrath, they shouted, ‘Away with him!’”
Paul attempted to keep the peace by reasserting his Roman citizenship (this should have ended the riot) when he asks, ‘Is it lawful…” 1)He had not been tried yet, 2)He was a Roman citizen.
God allows things to follow ‘human way’ and STILL good things can come.
The crowd had not real accusation to bring against Paul. They were trying to scare the Tribune with their shouting and shaking their clothes.
Chapter 22 v. 26-30 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
Paul’s father was a Roman
Chapter 23 v. 1-5 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ “
“In all good conscience” = “To my knowledge I have done nothing wrong.”
Paul wasn’t beaten because we broke the Law. This by itself was against the Law, which is why Paul speaks out boldly after being beaten.
Those standing by were awed by Paul’s boldness – SJC “They saw a man ready to die!”
SJC “These are the words of boldness, rather than of anger; he did not choose to appear in a contemptible light to the tribune.” SJC was convinced Paul really didn’t know that Ananias was the High Priest.
Teaching on “Virtue VS Vice” – (see Homily 48)
- Learn to distinguish between boldness and forwardness
For one must look narrowly into them, to learn what the one is and what the other: narrowly, because these virtues have their corresponding vices hard by them: mere forwardness passing itself off for boldness, mere cowardice for gentleness: and need being to scan them, lest any person possessing the vice should seem to have the virtue: which would be just as if a person should fancy that he was cohabiting with the mistress, and not know that it was the servant-maid.
- Learn to distinguish between gentleness and cowardice
What then is gentleness, and what mere cowardice? When others are wronged, and we do not take their part, but hold our peace, this is cowardice: when we are the persons ill-treated, and we bear it, this is gentleness.
- Overcome vice with virtue
For instance, these are two passions, cowardice and anger: if you have overcome anger, it is very plain that you overcome cowardice also: but you get the mastery over anger, by being gentle: therefore (do so) with cowardice also, and you will be manly. Again, if you have not got the better of anger, you have become forward and pugnacious; but not having got the better of this, neither can you get the better of fear; consequently, you will be a coward too.
- The greatness of soul is a virtue
Greatness of soul is a virtue, and hard by it stands prodigality: economy is a virtue, the being a good manager; hard by it stands parsimony and meanness.
- The high-souled man lives in control of vice
Let us not then call him high-souled, who simply spends, but him who spends aright: nor let us call the economical manager mean and parsimonious, but him who is unseasonably sparing of his money… Again, if we see a person, giving nothing to such people as these, but feeding the poor, and succoring those in need, himself keeping a mean table— him let us call an exceedingly high-souled man: for it is truly a mark of a great soul, to despise one’s own comfort, but to care for that of others.
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 48) Passions are the tyrant; despise them!
The passions are the tyrant: if then we despise them, we shall be great: but if we rescue others also from them, we shall be far greater, as being sufficient not only for ourselves, but for others also… let us see what is greatness of soul, and what prodigality; what is economy, and what meanness; what is gentleness, and (what) dulness and cowardice; what boldness, and what forwardness: that having distinguished these things from each other, we may be enabled to pass (this life) well-pleasing to the Lord, and to attain unto the good things promised.
About Father Athanasios C. Haros
Father Athanasios C Haros is the Pastor at the Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Florence, South Carolina. His sermon series, known as “Be Transfigured” are found each week on the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find more information about his parish at www.GoFlorence.org, and www.LiveANewLifeInChrist.org.