Shaped by a life of service to Christ’s Church, Fr. Christopher has dedicated himself to using all the tools God has placed at his disposal to spread the light of Orthodoxy across America. As Founding Father and host of the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) and the “Come Receive The Light” national Orthodox Christian radio program, he shepherds a dynamic and rapidly expanding ministry bringing joy, hope, and salvation in Jesus Christ to millions of listeners on Internet and land-based radio around the world in more than 130 countries. Fr. Christopher is the former President of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Parish Priest of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Fr. Chris offers the first in a series of classes on the Gospel of Matthew. In preparation for this class, he asked his parish to read the 29th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Find out whether they did – and why. This class also addresses the common criticism that Orthodoxy doesn’t pay much attention to Scripture.
September 8, 2013
The Gospel of Matthew
1st Class: Matthew 1:1-17
1. Introduction to Adult Study Class and the reason to study the Holy Scripture
2. Significance of Holy Scripture
- Center of the Altar Table
- Center of our heart
- Center of our family
- Center of our Iconography- Orthodox tradition is expressed in the iconography of our faith. Four gospels are considered to be symbolized in the images of the four living creatures of the Biblical apocalypse: Matthew with the man, Luke with the ox, Mark with the lion, and John with the eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10, Revelation 4:7)
3. Promise of Holy Scripture
4. Message of Holy Scripture
5. Gospel of Matthew
- One of the earliest written primarily for the Jewish people to show from the scripture of the Old Testament on that Jesus, the son of David, son of Abraham, is truly the Christ, the bearer of God’s Kingdom to humanity. It begins with the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham and the story of Christ’s birth through the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. This is and was a very natural way to speak to a Jewish audience since family history is very important. For if in any man there was the slightest admixture of foreign blood, he lost his right to be called a Jew, and a member of the people of God. It is the story of how God fulfilled His word to Israel and sent them His Messiah, who in turn carried out the work of redemption.
6. Five great blocks of teachings of Jesus are collected and systematized as follows:
- The Sermon on the Mount
- Duties of the Leaders of the Kingdom
- Parables of the Kingdom
- Greatness and Forgiveness in the Kingdom
- The coming of the King of Glory
7. Some items of importance seen only in Matthew:
- Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. The twelve were to go to those lost sheep and avoid the cities of the Gentiles and the Samaritans.
- Offers a scathing attack upon the Pharisees and their Hypocracy (blind guides, brood of vipers, serpents and sons of Gehenna)
- The word “church” is only found in here.
- The words of binding and loosing sins
- The founding of the church upon Peter
- Peter received the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven
- Peter comes to Jesus on the water
- Great Commission (28:19) making disciples of all nations
8. 14 Generations-marking signposts along with way of redemption.
- Abraham to David, 750 years
The first section takes the history down to David. David was the man who welded Israel into a nation, and made the Jews a power in the world. The first section takes the story down to the rise of Israel’s greatest king.
- David until the deportation to Babylon, 400 years
The second section takes the story down to the exile to Babylon. It is the section which tells of the nation’s shame, and tragedy, and disaster.
- Deportation to the birth of Christ, 600 years
The third section takes the story down to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the person who liberated people from slavery, who rescued them from disaster, and in whom the tragedy was turned to triumph.
- Issac’s birth is the prefigurement of the birth of Christ. Jacob’s twelve sons prefigure the 12 apostles of the age to come. Christ took upon himself a bloodless relationship to our nature to show that the sinful can become holy.
These three sections stand for the three stages in the spiritual history of humankind.
- Man was born for greatness
- Man lost his greatness
- Man can regain his greatness
This is the first class in a series. You can enjoy additional classes here.