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 20.1 – 20.16 – Homily 43
February 3, 2016
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: February 3, 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 February 3:
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Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on February 3, 2016 – Session 44
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 – February 3, 2016, Acts 20.1 – 20.16 Homily 43
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 20 v. 1-6 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia — also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
The uproar (riot) was so bad they needed a lot of comforting.
Paul achieved much more by preaching than by miracles
Here again we see the Jews persecuting Paul
Paul sends his coworkers in advance to prepare for his arrival. Troas was not a large city, but must have had a large number of believers.
Paul moves on. It appears that he kept the Feasts in the larger cities. Philippi was the scene of his miraculous release from prison, so he stays there a while.
Chapter 20 v. 7-12 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.
This takes place in the Pascha season (Pascha to Pentecost)
Sunday all-night vigil – Liturgy to sunrise. (The early Church celebrated Liturgy in the evening.) The Liturgy is the central event. “Breaking Bread” = Eucharist = Divine Liturgy. The teaching (as with today’s sermon) was second to the Eucharist, but still very important.
The crowd was so anxious to hear Paul preach, they filled even the window sills and loft areas
Imagine what a great imagine it was – the large dark home filled with people and “many lanterns” – similar to our Pascha midnight vigil with a full Church and filled with candle light shining in the windows.
The devil attempts to interrupt the preaching with the death of Eutychus, SJC “But the devil disturbed the feast – not that he prevailed, however – by plunging the hearer in sleep, and causing him to fall down.”
Eutychus was young but not immature. SLC “And the wonderful circumstance is, that though he was a youth, he was not listless and indifferent; and though (he felt himself) weighed down by sleep, he did not go away, nor yet fear the danger of falling down.”
Paul is humble even in bringing Eutychus back to life – “his life is in him”
The crowd received a double blessing. 1) Eutychus comes back to life, 2) The crowd witnesses the miracle
Chapter 20 v. 13-16 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.
Paul chooses the difficult route while sending the others via sea in comfort. This is also to prepare for his absence (see his prophesy in v. 1 from last week)
SJC “Why this haste? Not for the sake of the feast, but of the multitude. At the same time, by this he conciliated the Jews, as being one that did honor the feasts, wishing to gain even his adversaries: at the same time he delivers the word.”
Teaching on “Sacrifice” – (see Homily 43)
- Paul is a mere man, but accomplishes much for the Gospel
Observe, how he is also moved like other men. For therefore it is that all this is done, that we may not fancy that he was above human nature: (therefore) you see him desiring (something), and hasting, and in many instances not obtaining (his object): for those great and holy men were partakers of the same nature with us; it was in the will and purpose that they differed, and so it was that also they attracted upon themselves the great grace they did.
- Imitate Paul’s sacrifice
Let us imitate, and let us cast ourselves upon dangers for our brethren’s sake. Whether it be fire, or the sword, cast yourself on it, beloved, that you may rescue (him that is) your member: cast yourself, be not afraid. You are a disciple of Christ, Who laid down His life for His brethren.
- Do not be dismayed in sacrifice
Be it that thou suffer any evil for doing good, be it that (thou have to wait) a long time, be not thou offended, be not discomposed: God will of a surety give you your reward. The more the recompense is delayed, the more is the interest of it increased.
- We should weep for those who suffer for sin…but not those who suffer for glory
Let us have a soul apt to sympathize, let us have a heart that knows how to feel with others in their sorrows: no unmerciful temper (ὠ μόν), no inhumanity. Though thou be able to confer no relief, yet weep thou, groan, grieve over what has happened: even this is not to no purpose. If it behooves us to feel for those who are justly punished by God, much more for those who suffer unjustly at the hands of men…. If it be for crowns that any suffer these things, then grieve not; for instance, as Paul, as Peter suffered: but when it is for punishment that one suffers justice, then weep, then groan.
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 43) Nothing is more human than showing pity!
Knowing these things, let us not rejoice over those who are suffering punishment, but even grieve: for these let us mourn, for these let us weep, that for this also we may receive a reward. But now, many rejoice even over those who suffer evil unjustly. But not so, we: let us show all sympathy: that we also may have God vouchsafed us, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
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.