Explanation of Scripture read by Orthodox Christians on the 10th Monday after Pentecost 1 Corintians 15:12-19 Matthew 21:18-22

Scripture read by Orthodox Christians
10th Monday after Pentecost
1 Corintians 15:12-19 Matthew 21:18-22 Questions - list of Topics
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QUESTION 1

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"12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?"

Perhaps the Corinthians had picked up this false notion from judiazers among them. What Jewish sect did not believe in the resurrection from the dead?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 1

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The Sadduces.

The Gentiles also had problems with this idea: as the following accounts in Acts show:

"When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." (Acts 17:32)

"Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? " (Acts 26:28)


 

QUESTION 2

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"13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."

Why is our faith in vain if Christ is not risen?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 2

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St Paul answers this question tersely almost immediatley:

"{17} And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."

Christ came to give us eternal life. He made human flesh ABLE to obtain eternal life. If there was no resurrection, and Christ therefore did not rise from the dead, we would not be set free from the domination of the devil, and would remain in the grave.

"For not His having become incarnate, but His having died, took away death; since while He had flesh, the tyranny of death still had dominion." (St John Chrysostom)


 

QUESTION 3

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What are the 3 reasons mentioned as to why it is important that we believe in the Resurrection?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 3

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If Christ had not risen, our faith would be in vain (we would be yet in our sins unforgiven), those that die in Christ would perish, and we would be truly miserable in we could have hope in Christ only in this life.


 

QUESTION 4

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Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. (Matt 21:18)

Jesus returned into what city? What had He done there the previous day? What period of time was this in His earthly ministry?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 4

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Jesus was returning into Jerusalem, the day after His triumphant entry (which we remember as "Palm Sunday". On that day, after entering the city on the foal of an ass, and being worshipped by the multitudes, He went into the temple, and overturned the moneychangers and sellers:

"12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. " (Matthew 21:12-13)

This happened the beginning of the week of His passion, and death and resurrection.


 

QUESTION 5

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"19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. " (Matthew 21:19)

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? What does the fig tree represent?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 5

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The fig tree represents the Jews, or rather, those who would remain obdurate in their religion, and reject the Messiah.

"He withers the tree, then, in order to chasten men. The disciples marvel, and with good reason. For the fig tree contains a great amount of sap, and so the fact that it withered immediately serves all the more to indicate the miracle. The fig tree means the synagogue of the Jews, which has only leaves, that is, the visible letter of the law, but not the fruit of the Spirit. But also every man who gives himself over to the sweetness of the present life is likened to a fig tree, who has no spiritual fruit to give to Jesus who is hungry for such fruit, but only leaves, that is, temporal appearances which fall away and are gone. This man, then, hears himself cursed. For Christ says, Go, ye accursed, into the fire. But he is also dried up; for as he roasts in the flame, his tongue is parched and withered like that of the rich man of the parable, who in his life had ignored Lazarus." Blessed Theophylact, Commentary on Matthew)


 

QUESTION 6

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A parable about a fig tree has the same basic meaning as Jesus withering the fig tree with a curse. Describe and explain the parable.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 6

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"6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. " (Luke 13:6-9)


 

QUESTION 7

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What must we do in prayer to be assured of receiving that which we ask for?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 7

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And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)


 

QUESTION 8

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"And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! {21} Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done." (Matthew 21:20-21)

What does the mountain symbolize?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 8

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Blessed Augustine refers to the mountain as our "mountain of pride". Blessed Theophylact, in his commentary on a like passage in St Mark's gospel says: "The mountain is also the proud mind, high and rugged."


 

QUESTION 9

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Why did St. Paul write this passage?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 9

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Because there were Christian in Corinth that believed that Christ did not rise from the dead.


 

QUESTION 10

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Why would our faith be in vain in Christ had not risen?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 10

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Our whole Christian faith is based upon and built on His Resurrection, and through His Resurrection we are made able to rise and be forgiven of our sins.


 

QUESTION 11

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What are the 3 reasons mentioned as to why it is important that we believe in the Resurrection?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 11

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If Christ had not risen, our faith would be in vain, we would be yet in our sins unforgiven), those that die in Christ would perish, and we would be truly miserable in we could have hope in Christ only in this life.


 

QUESTION 12

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If we have faith, what can we do?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 12

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Move mountains.


 

QUESTION 13

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What does the mountain symbolize?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 13

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Our stony heart.


 





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