Archive for the ‘Feasts Of the Savior’ Category

“I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” – the Cross and the REMEMBRANCE OF DEATH, which is the ONLY way of life.

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Exaltation of the Precious Cross LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: We begin with an admonition from the Apostle Paul, in the selection read on the 17th Sunday after Pentecost: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." This is the what, but most of a pastor's life is spent explaining the how, which the readings for the Sunday after the Exaltation of the Precious cross do very well. The Epistle ends with the stirring words " I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…", and the Gospel tells us that "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it ". These describe an attitude, a way of living. Without this attitude, we will not be able to make our way and be "perfecting holiness". One way to explain this attitude is to elucidate the uniquely ascetic and Orthodox understanding of the "remembrance of death"; this is CRITICAL stuff! We must understand this way of life, the ONLY way of life, which starts with baptism and the cross, and must continue in the way of the cross.

More homilies on the exaltation of the Precious Cross are HERE

Galatians 2:16-20 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Mark 8:34-9:1 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.


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Exegesis of Vespers readings on Transfiguration: typology and moral instruction.

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

The Transfuration by Theophanes the Cretan.LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Exegesis of the Vespers readings (parables, paremia) for the Feast of the Transfiguration, with emphasis on typology, especially comparing the Theophanies Moses and Elijah experienced to the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and the significant moral instruction these events give us, when viewed in a Christian light.

Seven homilies on TRANSFIGURATION are HERE

Exodus 24:12-18 12 And the Lord said to Moses: Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and the law, and the commandments which I have written: that thou mayst teach them. 13 Moses rose up, and his minister Josue: and Moses going up into the mount of God, 14 Said to the ancients: Wait ye here till we return to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you: if any question shall arise, you shall refer it to them. 15 And when Moses was gone up, a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the Lord dwelt upon Sinai, covering it with a cloud six days: and the seventh day he called him out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a burning fire upon the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses, entering into the midst of the cloud, went up into the mountain: and he was there forty days, and forty nights.

Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6, 8 11 And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man is wont to speak to his friend. And when he returned into the camp, his servant Josue the son of Nun, a young man, departed not from the tabernacle. 12 And Moses said to the Lord; Thou commandest me to lead forth this people: and thou dost not let me know whom thou wilt send with me, especially whereas thou hast said: I know thee by name, and thou hast found favour in my sight. 13 If therefore I have found favour in thy sight, show me thy face, that I may know thee, and may find grace before thy eyes: look upon thy people this nation. 14 And the Lord said: My face shall go before thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And Moses said: If thou thyself dost not go before, bring us not out of this place. 16 For how shall we be able to know, I and thy people, that we have found grace in thy sight, unless thou walk with us, that we may be glorified by all people that dwell upon the earth? 17 And the Lord said to Moses: This word also, which thou hast spoken, will I do: for thou hast found grace before me, and thee I have known by name. 18 And he said: Shew me thy glory. 19 He answered: I will shew thee all good, and I will proclaim in the name of the Lord before thee: and I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please me. 20 And again he said: Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me and live. 21 And again he said: Behold there is a place with me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock. 22 And when my glory shall pass, I will set thee in a hole of the rock, and protect thee with my right hand, till I pass: 23 And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face thou canst not see. 4 Then he cut out two tables of stone, such as had been before: and rising very early he went up into the mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, carrying with him the tables. 5 And when the Lord was come down in a cloud, Moses stood with him, calling upon the name of the Lord. 6 And when he passed before him, he said: O the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, patient and of much compassion, and true, 8 And Moses making haste, bowed down prostrate unto the earth, and adoring,

1 Kings 19:3-9, 11-13, 15-16 3 Then Elias was afraid, and rising up he went whithersoever he had a mind: and he came to Bersabee of Juda, and left his servant there, 4 And he went forward, one day's journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: It is enough for me, Lord, take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers. 5 And he cast himself down, end slept in the shadow of the juniper tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him, and said to him: Arise and eat. 6 He looked, and behold there was at his head a hearth cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. 8 And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb. 9 And when he was come thither, he abode in a cave: and behold the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said to him: What dost thou here, Elias? 11 And he said to him: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord over throwing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: the Lord is not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake: the Lord is not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire: the Lord is not in the fire, and after the fire a whistling of a gentle air. 13 And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle, and coming forth stood in the entering in of the cave, and behold a voice unto him, saying: What dost thou here, Elias? And he answered: 15 And the Lord said to him: Go, and return on thy way through the desert to Damascus: and when thou art come thither, thou shalt anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And thou shalt anoint Jehu the son of Namsi to be king over Israel: and Eliseus the son of Saphat, of Abelmeula, thou shalt anoint to be prophet in thy room.


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How to answer temptations and what happens after baptism. Sat/Sun after Theophany Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 4:12-17

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

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Synopsis: The history of what Jesus did after His baptism is critical for us to understand. He set the example, both by accepting baptism and showing us what we MUST do after baptism. Let' look in detail at how to encounter temptation, which will surely come to us. We must be ready.

More homilies on the the days befure during and after Theophany are HERE



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Prison Ministry Pastoral Letter 2012-01-17. Lots about Theophany

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012


letterhead - St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas - http://www.orthodox.net/letterhead.jpg

Jan 4/17 2012 Two days before Theophany

 

Dear in Christ Brethren:

 

I am writing this letter on Tuesday, two days before Theophany, and a day before I visit the Michael Unit, two weeks after Innocent and John were baptized.  God willing, I will see the newly illumined Vladimir in the Hughes unit next week. This is a season of baptisms. On Theophany, I will baptize four, including a married couple who are converting together, and two children.

 

Normally, I serve two extensive services the eve of Theophany, but I received permission from Bishop Peter to serve the morning service a day early (today), because I thought it was really important to see the newly illumined Christians as soon after their baptism as possible. Tomorrow will be a big day. To the Michael unit at 7:30AM, then back home for the Theophany Vigil, and then on the day of Theophany (Thursday), two baptisms, the Liturgy and blessing of the waters, a meal, then the baptism of the two children. I scheduled them separately because sometimes baptism of older children can be difficult because they get scared. I did not want to be in a time crunch.

 

I have received permission to bring in all the stuff I need to serve Divine Liturgy. I though this would take longer, and I do not yet have a singer for the liturgy, but I am working on it. I plan to serve liturgy once a month in each unit, with a sermon and everything, and to have teaching the other time. I want you to know and love the services as much as I do. All our theology is plain for all to see in our services.

 

I want you to know a lot of stuff about Theophany. It was actually more highly feasted in the early church than Christmas, for good reason. As is usual, I will draw on the archives of homilies and teaching I have written, because I just do not have the time and inspiration to write stuff all the time.

 

May God bless you and help you in all things.

 

Theophany, The Baptism of the Lord, & “Illumining”. “To Fulfil all Righteousness”. About Holy Water. 1

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD, by St. Ioann (John) (Sergiev) of Kronstadt. 5

A Sermon about Holy Water, By Archbishop John Maximovich of Shanghai and San Francisco.. 7

Questions and Answers about Theophany.. 7

Royal Hours of Theophany. Troparion of the pre-festival – Tone 4. Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.. 10

 

 

Theophany, The Baptism of the Lord, & “Illumining”. “To Fulfil all Righteousness”. About Holy Water

1999

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Today we celebrate a day that is called by many names: the Baptism of our Lord, Theophany, and it is also called “Illumining”. We commemorate our Lord's baptism today in the Jordan. Theophany is the appearance of God, where indeed the Holy Trinity manifested Himself after Our Lord's baptism. Why would we call it Illumining? It is because through baptism we are indeed illuminated.

 

God had a plan for man. The primeval plan was for us to grow in knowledge and in wisdom, according to how we could bear it, in purity, without any knowledge of evil at all. But man didn't choose that plan. So God, in His wisdom knowing this, sent his only-begotten Son.

 

Salvation is the knowledge of God, but only the pure can know the pure. We can even see this in our daily lives. There are people whom we just don't completely understand, and we know this because we understand that they're somehow more pure and more humble than us. And we think: "I don't understand how that person can take such abuse from her husband, or his son, or his co-worker, or some other person, and be so humble about it." We know people like that. Hopefully there are people that speak about us in those kind of tones, because we are supposed to be a light to the rest of the world.

 

Only the pure can know the pure. But we're dirty, and we need purification. And what's more, we don't have any way to become pure. We don't have any way to clean ourselves. And our flesh, what is more, wars against us. Even if we wished to clean ourselves, (and we don't have the means, without God's help, mind you), we cannot. We don't have the strength, the ability, we don't have the knowledge, we don't have the grace. We cannot understand God without Him revealing himself to us. So, that is why our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came incarnate of a Virgin, into the midst of us – to invigorate us and make us able to live, but not only that; also to give us an example.

 

His ministry was two-fold. Being God, He taught us all the things that were necessary for our salvation, by His example, by how He lived, by how He spoke, by His demeanor. And He transmitted this faithfully and carefully to his disciples. And this is only to be found – this mind of Christ is only to be found – in the Orthodox faith, and it has been transmitted carefully and perfectly, throughout the ages, by the Church.

 

He showed us not only by His teaching, but also by how He lived. And He was a man, as well as being God, so He was subject to the things we are subject to, even unto death. So therefore, when He told us to be baptized, later on, after His resurrection, his words certainly have weight, because He subjected himself to baptism. He was not the kind of leader, or the kind of king, who would tell his subjects to do something that He wasn't willing to do. In fact, he said to James and John, that you cannot drink the cup that I will drink and be baptized with the baptism I will be baptized with. They could not bear what our Lord bore for us.

 

He will do more for us than He requires of us and expect more of Himself. And indeed, that is a principle of leadership. A leader, whether he be a father, a mother, or a priest, or an employer, or someone who teaches children, such as many of the men in this church, must lead by example. All the men in this church should be teachers of our boys, and all of the women, of our girls, and you teach them by being selfless, and emptying yourself as Christ emptied Himself. He taught us how to do it, and gave us the blueprint of how to do it.

 

Today we have an amazing thing before us. He who created the waters submits to being baptized in them. He who created the heavens and the earth and saw that it was good and not any whit evil, submits to cleansing in waters. He Who is the Regenerator regenerates our flesh, He descends in the flesh into regenerating waters. And he does this to show us how necessary it is for baptism.

 

To know Christ we must be like Him. You cannot know somebody unless you become like that person – it is not possible. So our Christian life in the flesh is to try to acquire the virtues, to be a good husbandman, to acquire the Holy Spirit, as my patron, St. Seraphim of Sarov, said, "By fasting, by diligence, by care, by prayers, by weeping, by repentance, by the whole Christian life." That is the whole reason for ascetical exercises. It's not because they're rules to be followed. It's because they are LIFE!

 

A man who sees a way of life that leads to eternal life, would be crazy, blind, not to follow such a life. So our Lord taught us many principles of how to life, but the most important aspect of His ministry is that He made us ABLE to live this way. I can tell you many things about the teaching of the Church, but I cannot invigorate you or make you able to live this way. That is only possible through your submission to the God-man Jesus Christ and the All-Holy Holy Trinity, Who makes a man able to live. So the God-man, when He preached, preached with authority, because He was able to back up his words like nobody else can.

 

Baptism is an image; it's an image of death and of life. The church says it over and over and over again. When we descend into the waters, we die. Our old man, with its lusts, dies in the waters. When we ascend out of the waters, we are reborn a new creature. This is a hard thing to understand. We cannot fathom it. We do not know how a man is reborn of water and the Spirit, we just know how we are told to begin the Christian life.

 

Baptism is the first mystery, although perhaps one would say the first mystery is really the incarnation of the Son of God, which made everything else possible. In our life, our entrance into the Christian life is through baptism. Without it, we're not able to progress one wit in the knowledge of God. And the knowledge of God IS salvation, brothers and sisters. But remember, one cannot progress in the knowledge of God without progressing in purity at the same time.

 

We have no "armchair theologians" in the Orthodox Church. He who is a theologian – who studies God – lives as God wishes him to live, and is enlightened. We have had theologians that have not been able to read or write. Or even, and this is hard for us in our industrialized society to understand, they might not even have been intelligent, as we would think of intelligence. But they were intelligent in the ways of God, because they lived a life in accordance with His grace.

 

I hope you understand now why our Lord was baptized. There was no NEED for Him to be baptized. In fact, what does it say after He was baptized? "Straightway He came up out of the water." To the fathers this is crystal clear, and therefore to us it will be now, too. He came straightway out of the water because He has no sin. In those days St. John was baptizing for repentance, a baptism of repentance, but not for remission of sins, because he cannot remit sins. People would, when they came out of the water – (and how would you like this, some of you have been baptized in streams that are cold!) – they were held in the water. They came up partway, and they confessed their sins right then and there. And then they were released out of the water. That's how it was done. But our Lord had no need to do so, He had no sins to confess. In fact, when He went into the water, the demons fled. You see the icon? You see the demons in there? The demons are fleeing from the water, because they could not bear to be in the same place as the God-man Jesus Christ.

 

How can anyone stand against this mystery when our Lord endorses it so emphatically?! And also, if we have an understanding of how water was treated, throughout the whole history of the Church – now I mean the history of the Church from Adam, you know, because God had a salvific plan from that time. There is a cute bumper sticker, but it's not true: "Founded AD 33, Christian Church." It was reborn, and recreated in AD 33, but the plan had been in place since Adam and Eve.

 

Let's take a look, a little bit, at these short scriptures we read today.

 

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest thou to me?" And Jesus said unto him, "suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness."

 

It's a little bit of a riddle; what is He talking about, "all righteousness?" The Lord had no need for baptism or anything else to act upon Him in order to be righteousness? He was able to save His human flesh by His own ability, but our human flesh requires baptism. He was baptized in order to change the nature of water so that, in those who believe, and by the grace of God, in the church, it can make a person capable of being saved, that is, to be perfected and know God intimately. We can therefore give a rather free paraphrase of our Lord’s words as “Suffer it to be so now, because without baptism, you cannot become righteous”

 

It was also tradition, a strong tradition, a God inspired tradition, of the Jewish people, that when a prophet said something, you did it! Jesus obeyed a prophet. John was the greatest of the prophets; our Lord Himself said so. So He obeyed a prophet, by being baptized. John did not mean for the God-man to be baptized, and he wanted to tell him, "No, I can't. I am unworthy. I want to be baptized of you." He therefore was obedient showed us an example, and later, after His resurrection a command to be baptized.

 

Our Lord does not tell us to do anything we are not capable of doing. He does not tell us to do anything in the flesh that we cannot do in the flesh, and that he did not already do in the flesh. He told us that our flesh should become pure. His flesh was always pure; he made his flesh completely invigorated with the Godhead. And indeed, that will happen to us, because He did it to Himself. He promises us that we will rise from the dead. Well, he did it to Himself, so we are capable. He commands us to be baptized; He did it himself. He turned the other cheek when he was slapped by the arrogant Pharisees and by their henchman, the Roman soldiers. And He commands us to turn our cheek when we are slapped. He commands us to forgive, and He forgave.

 

There is nothing, there is no commandment that the Lord gave that He did not fulfill Himself in the flesh. And He even told us to be perfect, and He was perfect – in the flesh and as God. So all those things we are capable to doing because He did them for us and made us able to. He led by example, and He led by power and grace and mercy.

 

"Then He suffered him. And Jesus, when He was baptized went up straightway out of the waters and lo! The heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. And a voice from heaven saying "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased."

 

We already said what it means that He went "straightway out of the water." John was in the water trembling, as a man before God. And God comes out of the water, and the Holy Spirit descends upon His shoulder, Jesus' shoulder, so as not to confuse the two. And the voice says, "This is my son, in whom I am well-pleased."

 

And the heavens are opened. Why? This is because the heavens are opened to us through baptism. And also the heavens are opened to us through something else. Right away after the baptism, St. Mark barely catches his breath, I don't think he even has to dip his pen again in ink, and he starts to write, "and straightway He was led out by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days."

 

There is a reason why he writes with such haste, why he doesn't even finish talking about baptism and wham! He is talking about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, because this happens to us. Right after our baptism we are tempted. During the whole of our life we're tempted, and sometimes we feel that we are in a barren place, a rocky dessert, with no water and no comfort, and we get despondent. Our Lord had the same things happen to Him; He became hungry as a man, tired as a man, He wept as a man. And right after His baptism He shows that we should expect that we are in a life or death struggle.

 

Immediately upon being baptized we are enlisted as soldiers. Not as conscripts, mind you, but as willing men, willing to put on the armor of faith and of righteousness. We are willing to fight the good fight, because we have stated so, whether it was as an infant when our sponsors stated for us and we grew to maturity and we learned of the church, or whether it is, in the case of most of us, where we spoke for ourselves and agreed to the tenets of the Christian faith before we were thrust down into the water and out of it three times.

 

About Holy Water.

 

The Church today, (and yesterday by the way), blesses water. This is called the great blessing, and in it we read amazing passages from the Old Testament about water and its salvific qualities. And then we take this water and we sanctify everything with it. And you should listen closely to the services – especially I can remember some things from last night – they talk about how our Lord cleanses the water, casting out demons from it, and making it pure and wholesome. It is good – to drink, to anoint ourselves with, good to bless and sanctify everything. And we indeed bless and sanctify water because our Lord blessed and sanctified water.

 

I am always amazed – even after 18 years, how our faith involves all of our life – everything! All of our senses – sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste – everything! And every aspect of our life – nothing is untouched by the holy church. In a pious Christian life, nothing is secular, but everything is sacred.

 

So after we bless the water today, and bless the inside of the church, and go around and bless the outside precincts, you will take water home. You should drink this water in the morning, with the sign of the cross, and also eat a small piece of antidoron, before you eat or drink anything else. And you should also drink this water if there is a temptation or a difficulty in your life. You should anoint yourself with the water. You should sanctify things in your home.

 

I have had the custom of going around all the rooms of my house with a censer, with all the rest of the family carrying candles and singing the Theophany Troparion, to bless everything with holy water on a regular basis. I do not do it as much anymore – I guess I am more distracted and busy than I should be – but this is an important task. Anyone can do this. The demons see the water, even after the water dries on the walls and you cannot see it, (except if you have sprinkled it on paper, the marks never go away then), the demons still see it, and you have marked your house as a dwelling of Christians. But of course, if you do this, then you must live as a Christian. What happened to the man who had the demons taken out of him, and the demon went around deserts and rocky places, and desolate areas, and the found no place to dwell? What did the demon do? He got seven other demons worse than himself, and he went back to the man. They found his soul was all swept and garnished inside, but since the man had not lived a virtuous life since his deliverance from the one demon, and the demons were able to make their abode in him, and the last state of the man is worse than the first!

 

There is responsibility placed upon you, brothers and sisters, because of the grace you have been given – because of your baptism. Also because of the All-Holy mysteries which all of you should desire to receive today, and the services of the church, and all the mind of the church. Everything that you do is sacred, and it makes you responsible, for living according to how you have promised to live. The good news is that you are ABLE to do it, because the God-man made you able to do it!

 

God revealed Himself, and continues to reveal Himself to us, as we are able to understand Him. As we become more pure, He reveals more of His purity to us. And we ascend like eagles! That is the meaning of Theophany. That is the meaning of the illumining. May it be that all of are illumined and follow Him in all ways. Amen.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 1999    

This homily is at:  http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-theophany-03_1999.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-theophany-03_1999.doc

 

There are many sermons on Theophany, and the days preceding and following Theophany at: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#FEASTS_OF_THE_SAVIOR-_THEOPHANY


 

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD, by St. Ioann (John) (Sergiev) of Kronstadt

 

From The Sun of Righteousness: On the Life and Teaching of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

 

John did restrain Him, saying: "I must needs be baptized of Thee, and dost Thou, then, come to me?" But Jesus said unto him in reply: "Let it be, for now, for thus doth it behoove us to fulfill all righteousness." (Mt. 3, 14-15)

 

Today the entire Orthodox Church universal celebrates the festive remembrance and glorification of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The holy Evangelist reports that when the Lord came to the Jordan to be baptized, John attempted to restrain Him, saying: "I must needs be baptized of Thee, and dost Thou, then, come to me?"

 

Would not we say the like, knowing Who this is Who has come: Lord, what doth it signify, this extreme humility of Thine, that Thou, the Lord Who is without sin, comest to be baptized of a man, even if he be one who is righteous through Thine own grace and righteousness?

 

What is there to wash away in Thee, Who art more pure than the sun; or to enlighten in Thee, the Sun of Righteousness? — But is it for us sinful and short-sighted ones, deprived of far-sightedness, to gainsay the Lord Himself, Who created all things and Who wisely does much that is beyond word and reason?

 

All the words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, and all His actions, bear within themselves the seal of the supreme wisdom and righteousness of God, so incomprehensible to the proud scholars of this age, who dare to equate the Very Lord of Glory Himself to ordinary men, and who interpret His words in accordance with the understanding of their perverted and lost minds; — and we must humbly bow ourselves down before Him with perfect trust and with profound reflection, beseeching the gift of understanding from God.

 

Hence, the aforesaid words of the Lord to John that he baptize Him silently, and without gainsaying Him, — and the very act of baptism at John's hand — likewise bear upon themselves the seal of the most-supreme wisdom, goodness, and righteousness of God.

 

Let it be, for now, says the Lord, for thus doth it behoove us to fulfill all righteousness; i.e., it is for this reason that I came to earth and became man, while abiding ever as God, — the Lord says, as it were — in order to fulfill all Divine righteousness, which was so brazenly trampled down in paradise by the first-created humans and, later, — the further one penetrates into the depths of time and of the generations of man — even more audaciously, more wickedly, more evilly, more profanely, was trampled down by all mankind, with the exception of a few chosen ones.

 

I come to take upon Myself all the iniquities and impurities of humanity, without being defiled by them, in order to make payment for them, thereby satisfying the justice of My Father in heaven, and to offer Myself as a redemptive Sacrifice, in order to immerse them all in the waters of the Jordan.

 

I, of Myself, as the sinless God-man, desire to wash away all human iniquities and to give to My Church a cleansing bath of eternal life in baptism by water and the Spirit;

 

I Myself, having fulfilled all righteousness, desire to teach people Divine righteousness, giving them the power and the grace to fulfill it.

 

That is the significance of the Lord's words to John: "Let it be, for now, for thus doth it behoove us to fulfill all righteousness."

 

Generally speaking, in the course of reading or hearing the Lord's words, or His gospel concerning His acts, we must not let it slip from our purview that He is the Lamb of God, Who taketh upon Himself the sins of all the world, and the Redeemer of the human race; the High Priest after the Order of Melchisedec, Who offered Himself as a Sacrifice of reconciliation to His Father in Heaven, on behalf of us sinners, — that He is the Righteous Judge of all, the Physician of all those languishing in sin, and the Warrior Who has gone out to engage in spiritual single-combat that spiritual Goliath — the devil — who, with supreme artifice, cunning and perseverance, did subjugate, and continues to subjugate, the entire human race by means of innumerable passions and vileness of all sorts, and whom the Lord, through divinely-wise, righteous forethought, has vanquished completely, delivering mankind from his [the devil's] power.

 

Thus was the Lord also baptized in the River Jordan, in order to subdue our destroyer, the devil, in the waters wherein he had his haunt, and to leave the waters such, that we, in being baptized therein through triple immersion in the Name of the Holy Trinity, might be abundantly washed clean of the filth of the ancestral sin, and that we might be born again into a new life, through water and the Holy Spirit, and might become adopted [sons and daughters] of the Father in Heaven, by living a holy life.

 

The circumstances of the very Nativity of the God-man likewise bear the seal of the most-profound wisdom and righteousness of God. He was born of a poor Virgin, Most-pure, and was placed in a manger, wrapt in swaddling-cloths, like an infant, in order that through His humility He might make restitution for the pride of Adam and Eve, who aspired to be gods, in order to convict and mortify human pride, and to teach men humility, which is the foundation of all virtue.

 

All that the Lord spake and did on earth, He did in accordance with the pre-eternal, most-wise, and all-good Counsel of the Trinity, which transpired before all ages, all of which was necessary for the salvation, perfection and blessedness of mankind; and, if any rejected, and continues to reject, His commandments, counsels, statutes, and that Church which He founded on earth, the same was, and is, the enemy of God and of himself, having thus rejected the Divine Counsel concerning himself.

 

Baptism was ordained by God in the Church for the salvation of the human race, — and it is necessary for every believer as a door into the Kingdom of God, — and whosoever rejected or rejects it, the same sweeps away his salvation, his own eternal well-being. In this manner did the Lord speak of the Pharisees and the Scribes, who were undesirous of being baptized by John; that they were thus spurning the Counsel of God, concerning themselves, in not being baptized by him.

 

Beloved brothers and sisters! We all have been found worthy of holy Baptism in our infancy, through the faith of our parents and our sponsors; we were cleansed of the ancestral sin and were reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, and — became the adopted children of the Father in Heaven.

 

The doors of the Kingdom of Heaven stand open to us.

 

Let us, then, with all our hearts, always esteem the Divine gift and our calling as sons and daughters of God by grace, — withdrawing far from all sin, and let us, in our thoughts, desires, and actions, strive for the Kingdom of Heaven, that inccorruptible, unfading inheritance, prepared for us in the heavens.

 

Amen.

 

Translated into English by G. Spruksts, from the Russian text of _"Krescheniye Gospodnye"_ ["The Baptism Of the Lord"] appearing in Part I, Chapter 6 of _"Solntse Pravdy: O zhizni i uchenii Gospoda Nashego Iisusa Khrista"_ ["The Sun of Righteousness: On the Life and Teaching of Our Lord, Jesus Christ"] by Protopriest [St.] Ioann [John] (Sergiev) of Kronstadt, pp. 23-27. English translation copyright © 1983, 1998 by The Saint Stefan of Perm’ Guild, The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, and the Translator. All rights reserved

 

Source: http://www.orthodox.net/theophany/theophany-by-st-john-of-kronstadt.html

A Sermon about Holy Water, By Archbishop John Maximovich of Shanghai and San Francisco

 

On Theophany, that is, the Day of the Lord's Baptism, every year a great miracle is performed. The Holy Spirit, coming down upon the water, changes its natural properties. It becomes incorrupt, that is it does not spoil, remains transparent and fresh for many years, receives the grace to heal illnesses, to drive away demons and every evil power, to preserve people and their dwellings from every danger, to sanctify various objects whether for church or home use. Therefore Orthodox Christians with reverence drink Holy Water – a great Agiasma (holy thing), as the Greeks call it.

 

One should always have at home enough Theophany water so that it will last the whole year, and make use of it at every need; in cases of illness, leaving on a journey, whenever one is upset, students when going to examinations. They do well who daily, before eating any kind of food, drink a little Holy Water. It strengthens the powers of our soul – if it is done, of course, with prayer and reverence, and one does not merely expect from it a mechanical result.

 

Every priest should take care to bless a sufficient quantity of water for his church, so that it will be on hand for the course of the whole year for every need and to be given out to those who ask for it; and parishioners should provide for themselves at Theophany with Holy Water for the whole year and even so that it can be kept for future years.

 

Source: http://www.orthodox.net/theophany/sermon-about-holy-water-by-archbishop-john-maximovich-of-shanghai-and-san-francisco.html

Questions and Answers about Theophany.

 

QUESTION 1

When is Theophany celebrated? What does it commemorate? What is another name for this feast?

 

ANSWER 1

The feast of Theophany is Jan 6 (Jan 19 on the civil calendar).

 

It commemorates the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ, and much more, as its name implies. The word "Theophany" means a "manifestation of God". This is similar to another word by which this feast is known, "Epiphany", which just means "manifestation.

 

We celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ as a Theophany because the Holy Trinity was made manifest after His baptism (when He came out of the water).

 

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: {17} And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.(Mat 3:16-17)


 

QUESTION 2

Retell the story of the baptism of Christ. Which Evangelists report it?

 

ANSWER 2

All four Evangelists report the baptism of Christ, and its precursor, the preaching and baptizing of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner and Baptist John. The actual event of the baptism of our Lord is reported very laconically in St John's gospel, and is only alluded to.

 

Ministry of St John the Baptist: Matthew 3:1-12, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-20, John 1:19-34
Baptism of Christ: Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34

 

The story is actually very simple. The Holy Prophet and Forerunner and Baptist John was preaching repentance and baptizing in the Jordan. His ministry was preparing the hearts of the people for Christ. Jesus came upon him one day and asked to be baptized. The Holy Prophet was filled with fear and in humility told that Lord that it was he that needed to be baptized, and not Jesus. Jesus told John to "suffer it to be so now, to fulfill all righteousness." The Lord was then baptized (immersed) in the waters of the Jordan, and upon coming out of the water, He saw the "heavens opened", and a voice was heard from heaven, which said, "Thou art my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased", and a dove descended upon Him.


QUESTION 3

Why was Christ baptized?

 

ANSWER 3

Our Lord answers this question: "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." (Matthew 3:15)

Jesus has no need for the baptism of John, which was a baptism of repentance. (Matthew 3:11, and elsewhere). Neither did he have need for Christian baptism, which is the renewal of man and the making of a new creature. The God-man is totally sinless, and in no need of renewal.

 

The Holy Fathers tell us that "Righteousness" means the law. Christians are not forgiven the requirements of the law, since Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law, and not to destroy it. (Matt 5:17). The beginning we can have if we are to be perfect, as we are called to be (Matt 5:48, not an option!), is to have our nature renewed. Baptism delivers human nature from the curse, and we are made able to reach God, to know Him, and to become like Him in moral purity. (See Bl. Theophylact, commentary on Matt 3:15)

 

Our Lord was baptized as an example for us, to point out the necessity of baptism for man. There is no requirement that He has made for us that He did not fulfill Himself, including baptism. He did everything as a man that He requires of us, as men. He who endured smiting and spitting, and torment for our salvation demands of us that we turn the other cheek when we are smitten by our enemy. He Who prayed with fervor in the depth of the night demands of us that we pray without ceasing. He Who brought all things before His Father, and even the horrible specter of His impending death demands us to ask concerning all our needs. He Who submitted in all things to His Father demands of us that we pray, "Thy will be done" concerning all things in our life. He Who submitted Himself to baptism demands of us that we be born again, of water and the spirit.

"With the servants the Lord, with the criminals the Judge, cometh to be baptized. But be not thou troubled; for in these humiliations His exaltation doth most shine forth. For He who vouchsafed to be borne so long in a Virgin's womb, and to come forth thence with our nature, and to be smitten with rods, and crucified, and to suffer all the rest which He suffered; –why marvellest thou if He vouchsafed also to be baptized, and to come with the rest to His servant. For the amazement lay in that one thing, that being God, He would be made Man; but the rest afar this all follows in course of reason." (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, Homily 22, Matthew 3:11)

 

"For righteousness is the fulfilling of the commandments "Since then we have performed all the rest of the commandments," saith He, "and this alone remains, it also must be added: because I am come to do away the curse that is appointed for the transgression of the law. I must therefore first fulfill it all, and having delivered you from its condemnation, in this way bring it to an end. It becometh me therefore to fulfill the whole law, by the same rule that it becometh me to do away the curse that is written against you in the law: this being the very purpose of my assuming flesh, and coming hither." (Ibid.)


QUESTION 4

What happened immediately after the Lord's baptism? What can we infer from this?

 

ANSWER 4

"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: {17} And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mat 3:16-17)

 

The heavens were opened to show us that our baptism will open the heavens for us. God is made accessible to us. We can know the Unknowable. We can be changed. A good work is begun in us, and we have the means to have the promise fulfilled in us: "… He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6)

We can only appropriate this promise, if we look up, unto heavenly things, and leave off earthly and corruptible things. "Wherefore were the heavens opened? To inform thee that at thy baptism also this is done, God calling thee to thy country on high, and persuading thee to have nothing to do with earth." (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, op. cit.)

The Holy Spirit descended to show that He Who is baptized is greater than he who baptized. He it is Who will baptize with the Holy Spirit, and with fire. (Matthew 3:11) When the voice came from heaven, the presence of the dove over Christ made it clear that the words were applied to the God-man, and not to His servant, John. "… The Spirit came in form of a dove, drawing the voice towards Jesus, and making it evident to all, that this was not spoken of John that baptized, but of Jesus Who was baptized." (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, op. cit.)

(See also Bl Theophylact, Commentary of Matthew)


QUESTION 5

Where did the Lord go after His baptism? What happened? What may we infer from this? Another significant event happened while the Lord was away. What was it?

 

ANSWER 5

After the Lord was baptized, "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Mat 4:1). He was gone forty days and nights, during which time, He fasted. After this, the devil came to Him to tempt Him, offering Him three great temptations, which He easily overcame. It was also during this time that the Holy Prophet and Forerunner and Baptist John was put in prison, fulfilling the prophecy of John himself: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

What are we to learn from the Lord's temptations, which followed immediately after His baptism? After our baptism, we must expect temptations. Our baptism begins our battle, and we must never rest. We must never think of the Christian life in an intellectual way, and must not be surprised when we encounter bitter temptations. No man can ascend unto dispassion and the knowledge of God with without temptations. Can we really expect to be left with no difficulties in this life, when the Lord Himself was troubled and buffeted? Our Lord warned us: "For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" (Luke 23:31)

 

Let us endure our temptations, and ascend, unto our destiny and purpose. " My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; {3} Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. {4} But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4)

"For since with a view to our instruction He both did and underwent all things; He endures also to be led up thither, and to wrestle against the devil: in order that each of those who are baptized, if after his baptism he have to endure greater temptations may not be troubled as if the result were unexpected, but may continue to endure all nobly, as though it were happening in the natural course of things. " (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, Homily 23, Matthew 4:1)


QUESTION 6

Why did St John the Baptist baptize?

 

ANSWER 6

The Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John's whole ministry was to point towards Christ. He himself tells us why he baptized: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Mat 3:11)


 QUESTION 7

What major event in Israel points to baptism? Are there others?

 

ANSWER 7

The passage of the children of Israel through the Red Sea is a type of baptism.

 

Baptism is also alluded to in the magnificent event of the taking up of the Holy Prophet Elias in the chariot:

 

"The river Jordan was once turned back by the mantle of Elisseus when Elias had been taken up, and the waters were divided hither and thither. And for him the watery path became dry, verily as a type of baptism, whereby we cross the flowing stream of life. Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters." (Troparion of the Forefeast of Theophany. Tone 4)

 

"And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. {10} And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. {11} And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. {12} And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. {13} He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; {14} And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over." (2 Kings 2:9-14)


QUESTION 8

Name at least five Theophanies in the Old Testament and one besides the baptism of the Lord in the NT

 

ANSWER 8

  1. The Angel in the Furnace.
  2. The Three Angels who met Abraham.
  3. Moses seeing the "back parts" of God.
  4. Moses and the burning bush.
  5. Jacob wrestling the angel.
  6. Elias in the cave and the "still small voice".
  7. The Transfiguration of Christ

QUESTION 9

The pastor visits the homes of all his parishioners and the days shortly following. Why? How should one make ready for this visit?

 

ANSWER 9

It is a long-standing tradition in Holy Orthodoxy that the homes of all the faithful be blessed yearly, after the blessed feast of Theophany. The power of water to sanctify and transform is amply demonstrated in baptism, and we believe that God chooses to bless us through holy objects and actions, such as the relics of those who have pleased God, holy icons, oil and water.

The priest usually prays a short service of supplication and then blessed all living areas of the house with water, while singing the troparion for Theophany. In this way, the home of a Christian is "marked" and sanctified.

 

When the priest arrives, the home should be very clean, and picked up. The doors to all rooms except the bathrooms should be open. It is good to have a small table set up, with a cloth on it, and a candle. If the family has an icon of the Theophany, it can be placed there, along with any other icons that are well loved in the family. The best place to put this table is before the family's icon corner.


QUESTION 10

What is the fasting typicon for every day from Nativity up to and including Theophany?

 

ANSWER 10

The Nativity of the Savior is such a joyous feast that all foods are allowed on the day of the feast and all days following, until the day before Theophany, which is a strict fast (if this day is Saturday or Sunday, wine and oil are allowed). On Theophany itself, of course, all foods are allowed.

 

Source: http://www.ortodox.net/questions/theophany_1.html

 

Royal Hours of Theophany. Troparion of the pre-festival – Tone 4. Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.

The River Jordan was once turned back by the mantle of Elisha /

when Elijah had been taken up, /

and the waters were divided hither and thither.  /

And for him the watery path became dry, /

Verily as a type of baptism, /

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.  //

Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

 

This troparion is sung at each of the Royal Hours of Theophany. It describes an event which is a “type” or foreshadowing of baptism. Many Theophany hymns describe the many types of baptism in the Old Testament. A “type” is an event or thing which foreshadows or “points to” a future event or thing. A good rule of thumb regarding typology is that the more types there are for a given thing, the more important it is. There are many types for baptism, the cross and the resurrection, for example.

 The dividing of the River Jordan when it was struck by the mantle of Elisha is an obvious type of baptism, since it evokes the memory of the dividing of the Red sea, which is perhaps the quintessential and most important type of baptism in the Old Testament.

 This event has a nuance to it that the dividing of the Red Sea does not have. We know that when Christ was baptized in the same Jordan waters that were divided by Elisha’s mantle, “the Jordan turned back and fled” from the God man Jesus Christ.

 If you listen carefully to our hymns you will see that they mix typology, history, dogma and moral instruction quite freely. The most important part of the hymn is at the end, when we sing:

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.  //

Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

 

Here is the moral connection that I talk so often about. Our Lord’s baptism “sanctified the waters’, that is, changed the nature of water so that the waters of baptism can enable our nature to live victoriously, and to become perfected. Whatever happens to us — with baptism, we will be able to “cross the flowing stream of life” and find perfect rest. Baptism is not just an event. It is active throughout all of our “flowing stream of life”.

As in the parting of the Red Sea, the parting of the Jordan indicates for us that baptism is active in the beginning of our new life, in the middle (as we cross the flowing stream of life) and at the end, when we reach the other side. The waters are a wall of protection and also of guidance.  

 

When we hear this hymn (and there are many opportunities for the zealous to hear), we should feel the

moral implications of baptism. The God-man Jesus Christ made our humanity capable of perfection, so that we could know perfection – God, and in baptism He provided the means of this change.

 

And Eliu said to him, Stay here, I pray thee, for the Lord has sent me to Jordan. And Elisaie said, As the Lord lives and thy soul lives, I will not leave thee: and they both went on.  (7)  And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went also, and they stood opposite afar off: and both stood on the bank of Jordan.  (8)  And Eliu took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the water: and the water was divided on this side and on that side, and they both went over on dry ground.  (9)  And it came to pass while they were crossing over, that Eliu said to Elisaie, Ask what I shall do for thee before I am taken up from thee. And Elisaie said, Let there be, I pray thee, a double portion of thy spirit upon me.  (10)  And Eliu said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: if thou shalt see me when I am taken up from thee, then shall it be so to thee; and if not, it shall not be so.  (11)  And it came to pass as they were going, they went on talking; and, behold, a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and it separated between them both; and Eliu was taken up in a whirlwind as it were into heaven.  (12)  And Elisaie saw, and cried, Father, father, the chariot of Israel, and the horseman thereof! And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his garments, and rent them into two pieces.  (13)  And Elisaie took up the mantle of Eliu, which fell from off him upon Elisaie; and Elisaie returned, and stood upon the brink of Jordan;  (14)  and he took the mantle of Eliu, which fell from off him, and smote the water, and said, Where is the Lord God of Eliu? and he smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither; and Elisaie went over. (2Ki 2:6-14 Brenton, or 4 Kings, Sept, read during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Theophany

 

This document is at:

·          http://www.orthodox.net/prison-ministry/prison-ministry-pastoral-letter-2012-01-17+theophany+to-fulfil-all-righteousness.html

·          http://www.orthodox.net/prison-ministry/prison-ministry-pastoral-letter-2012-01-17+theophany+to-fulfil-all-righteousness.doc

·          http://www.orthodox.net/prison-ministry/prison-ministry-pastoral-letter-2012-01-17+theophany+to-fulfil-all-righteousness.html

 

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The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and baptism, and the end, where we will have fought the good fight and finished the course. Readings for the Sunday before Theophany explained.

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

href="http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-theophany-02_2012-01-15+the-beginning-of-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ+i-have-fought-the-good-fight_mark1-1-8-2timothy4-5-8.m3u">LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The Sunday before Theophany (the baptism of Jesus Christ), we read from Mark about the "beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" and about the baptism of John, which is a vivid type of Christian Baptism. The entire selection, form Mark 1:1-8 us explained, and especially how John's baptism (of repentance) is different (and the same) as Christian baptism. It is also appropriate on this day to think about the eventual fruit of baptism, which is human perfection and union with God, and the passage of 2Timothy 4:5-8 presents us with a beautiful "after" picture. This is our destiny, if we accept baptism and work to attain it.

MANY homilies on the Theophany are HERE

Mark 1:1-8 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

2 Timothy 4:5-8 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.


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We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ, Show us also Thy divine Theophany Nativity of Jesus Christ, Eve of Nativity. Text/Audio.

Friday, January 6th, 2012


We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ, Show us also Thy divine Theophany

Nativity of Jesus Christ, Eve of Nativity

December 24, 2011

 

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Today, brothers and sisters, on this pre‑feast of Nativity, we hear so much about the humility and the lowliness of Christ.  Many things that are not befitting of a king are happening.  He is poor.  He is born of a woman that is not even married; this is a scandal to society.  He is born in a cave, in a manger, a cold manger because it was winter.  And kings come to Him, later on, not on the day of His birth, a little bit later when they were in the house, to worship Him.  They worshipped a poor Man in a poor little house.  Usually when a king's son is born, it is heralded over the entire country.  And only a few shepherds heard.

 

So many things that are contradictions about the way the world treats its kings, happened to our Lord.  I think that's all for our purpose.  That is to show us the way to live.  Of course, our Lord gave us an example how to live, and He fulfilled that example.  That was an essential purpose of the Incarnation.  We can't say it was only to forgive sin.  It was also, and more importantly, so that we could obliterate sin so that sin could be cast out from us.  The way for that to happen is for us to be told the way and shown it, by example, and for us to be given the ability to follow the way.  And that is what we celebrate in the Incarnation, in the Nativity of the Lord. 

 

Now, we just read from St. Luke's account about the Nativity that Mary kept all these things conjecturing them in her heart.  We should follow that example.  That's very, very important.

 

That is what the services really do.  All of our services are this conjecturing in our heart, this thinking about holy things and rephrasing the dogmas of our faith in ways that touch us.  If you listen to the services carefully, you will see things or hear things every day that are striking to you, that are amazing to you, that cut you to the core.  And you should conjecture on them in your heart.

 

One cannot think too much about the Incarnation or about the Resurrection or about the humility of our Lord or about the coming of the Holy Spirit or about any dogma or any truth or any teaching that is in all of the Scriptures, whether it be in the Gospel or the epistles or anywhere else.

 

I know a story of a monk that had left and gone out into the wilderness because he heard the first portion of the first Psalm, and he meditated upon that and tried to live according to that for his entire life.  And that's enough if we conjecture even such a small part of a Psalm in our heart.

 

Now, today in the ninth hour there is this solemn troparion that is sung.  It's sung three times in the middle of the church.  It is very beautiful, very profound, and you do prostrations afterwards.  And its meaning is something that you should conjecture in your heart because it ends in this very solemn and profound way:  

 

"We worship Thy Nativity, O, Christ.  We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.  Show us also Thy divine Theophany."

 

Now, Nativity and Theophany have always been connected historically.  There was a time when they were a single feast.  Now they are disconnected by twelve days, but they are still connected in our liturgy.  They are still connected in our hymnology.  So this is certainly a reference to the Theophany about to occur.  We have another name for it, Epiphany or the Baptism of Christ.  Theophany and Epiphany basically mean about the same thing.  They are a manifestation of God to man. 

 

And there have been many Theophanies such as when the holy children saw the Angel of the Lord in the furnace; that is none other than the pre‑incarnate Jesus Christ.  Abraham gave hospitality to three Angels; one of them was the Angel of the Lord, the pre‑incarnate Jesus Christ. 

 

Moses was in the mountain and he said, "I want to see Thy face."  The Lord says, "You can't see My face.  No one can see My face and live."  But He said, "I will show you My back parts.  I will put you in the cleft of the rock."  And when the glory of the Lord passed by, Moses was in the cleft of the rock.  That was a Theophany of the pre‑incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

But now we don't have to have Theophanies of the pre‑incarnate Lord Jesus Christ because He has been born of the woman and He is now a Man, a perfected Man, as we should become.

 

So when we are singing this, deeply in your heart, you should feel what the purpose of the Incarnation is for.  It is so that we could see the divine Theophany.  We're not talking about the feast coming up twelve days after Christmas.  We're talking about the manifestation of God in the Psalm, because our purpose is to know God and know Him intimately.

 

So this is why the Lord was born.  This is why the Lord taught.  This is why the Lord assembled twelve apostles and why He died on the Cross for us and why He resurrected and why He ascended into the Heavens and then sent the Holy Spirit to us.  All of these things are for one purpose and one purpose only:  So that we would know Him. 

 

We cannot know Him without becoming purified.  So when we say, "We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ; show us also Thy divine Theophany," we are begging the Lord for help.  We're being aware that the Lord has come so that we could be purified so that we could know Him. 

 

"To the pure all things are pure," the Scripture says.  And also, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."  We cannot see God and know Him without becoming purified.  But if you look in your own life, you will see there are a lot of things that are not pure and not good. 

 

The Lord came so that those things would become purified; the darkness would become light, and the coldness would become warmth.  And the blindness would become all eye, all seeing, so that we would see the Lord as He is and not be afraid.

 

This is what we are praying for:  That the Lord would indwell in us, cleanse us of all sin, so that we would be in a perfected state; so that we could see Him and know Him as He is ‑‑ not as a pre‑incarnate Angel of the Lord, but as the God‑Man Jesus Christ, the eternal One, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lord of Heaven and the earth ‑‑ and be in His presence and not be ashamed but be glad. 

 

This is what we are asking for.  If you read this hymn or sing it ‑‑ it's better to sing it, of course, if you can, because it's much more beautiful; it's in the sixth tone ‑‑ it begins speaking about the contradictions.  And as I said in the beginning, this is important because the things that the Lord did were all for example:  The prophecies that were given, those that are His progenitors, their lives:  Are examples.  Everything about Him is an example about how we should live.

 

The King of all, the Creator of the universe, humbled Himself to become a poor Man.  So we should humble ourselves.  It doesn't matter if we are poor in terms of monetary wealth or not, but we must be poor in spirit or else we can't know God. 

 

So here is what this hymn says. 

 

"Today He Who in essence is God intangible and holdeth all creation in His hand is born of the Virgin and wrapped as a mortal in swaddling bands.  He lieth in a manger, Who established the Heavens by His Word in the beginning.  He is fed at the breast with milk, Who rained down manna upon the people in the wilderness.  The Bridegroom of the Church summoneth the magi; the Son of the Virgin receiveth their gifts.  We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.  We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.  We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.  Show us also Thy divine Theophany."

 

So let it be for us.  Let us become as the God‑Man.  So that we can have His Theophany shown to us, in us.  Amen. 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-03_2011-01-06+eve-of-nativity+we-worship-thy-nativity-o-christ-show-us-also-thy-divine-theophany.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-03_2011-01-06+eve-of-nativity+we-worship-thy-nativity-o-christ-show-us-also-thy-divine-theophany.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-03_2011-01-06+eve-of-nativity+we-worship-thy-nativity-o-christ-show-us-also-thy-divine-theophany.mp3

 

 

 

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What does this mean – God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we have this treasure in earthen vessels?. Exaltation of the Cross.

Monday, September 26th, 2011

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Synopsis: On this Sunday before the Exaltation of the Cross, two of the epistle readings (2 Corinthians 4:6-15 and Galatians 6:11-18) relate directly to the cross. St Paul states emphatically: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." What does it mean to "glory" in the cross? People glory in many things – wealth, attractiveness, popularity, political correctness, having a good marriage, job, etc. None of these things is glorying in the cross. We answer this important question, and also why we who are "new creatures" because of the cross "have this treasure in earthen vessels".

More homilies on the Exaltation of the Precious Cross are HERE



Galatians 6:11-18 11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:6-15 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross-02_2011-09-25+sunday-before-the-exaltation+god-forbid-that-i-should-glory,-save-in-the-cross-of-our-lord-jesus-christ_2corinthians4-6-15,galatians6-11-18.m3u

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Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Cross We are saved from the poison of our passions and sin through the Cross. Exegesis of John 3:13-17. Text and Audio.

Saturday, September 24th, 2011


Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Cross

We are saved from the poison of our passions and sin through the Cross.

Exegesis of John 3:13-17

2010

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, brothers and sisters, is the day before the Sunday before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross[1]. On this day we always have this reading where Christ describes the Cross and describes the standard that Moses had, the serpent in the wilderness. And there is also this famous verse that everyone knows; in fact, even people that are not Christian know it, because they have seen it on buses and in end zones:

 

John 3:16 banner at a football gane. http://www.orthodox.net/photos/john-316.jpg

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”[2]

 

The real meat of this reading is not that verse. It is only describing the Lord’s loves for us; the rest of the passage teaches us how to benefit from that love. First the Lord begins by saying,

 

 

“No man has ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man which is in Heaven.”

 

He’s speaking of Himself. He was standing right before them when He spoke to them; but He’s also God, so He is in all places at all times.

 

“Son of Man”[3], is a messianic appellation, just as is “Son of David” and many other ones; He was wont to call Himself the Son of Man” often. The Son of Man is in Heaven AND was standing before them, firmly rooted on earth. And He said that no one has ascended except the Son of Man. The inference is that He, by His Own will, can ascend or can descend and, as God, He can make it possible for us to ascend. He then ties our ascending to the way of the cross, because He refers to Moses lifting  up the serpent in the wilderness. And so must the Son of Man be lifted up:

 

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

 
This standard with the brass serpent in the wilderness is described in Numbers[4]. The people were complaining about being a long time in the desert. They had been gone for many years because of their sins. The actual distance between Egypt and Israel is long; it is about a week’s walking journey, and yet it took them forty years because of their sins. They were well into this trip by then, and they were complaining to Moses, and the Lord sent fiery serpents upon the ground, and they bit the people, and they were dying from poisonous snake bites. The Lord told Moses to make a fiery serpent and put it upon a staff; so Moses did, making a brass serpent. And the instructions were that anyone who had been bitten could look upon this standard and live. And of course, this is a type[5] of the Cross, a foreshadowing of the Cross. Lifting up the serpent on a staff, obviously very much like a cross. And the people were saved by looking to the cross.

So the Son of Man would be lifted up as well. And we can be saved by looking to this Son of Man, the Son of God, the son of David, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten, when we look upon Him on the Cross.

And then He says,

 

“That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

He had just spoken about poison. Serpents had bitten people and the poison was in their system and was killing them, but the cross saved them. So this image of poison is true for us too.

 

Our poison is sin. Our poison is passions. We are saved from our passions and sin through the Cross.

 

Why?

 

Because the Son of Man has the authority to lay down His life and to take it up again. And He would shortly lay down His life and take it up again.

 

He has the authority to change our nature such that we no longer would be held by death.

 

That is what happened after His death on the Cross. He descended into Hades of His Own will and filled Hades with His divinity and broke the gates of Hades. We sing about this in Pascha, and actually we sing about it every Saturday evening[6]. And in breaking those bars, breaking the bonds that hold humanity when they die, He made us capable of ascending.

So, brothers and sisters, when you look to the Cross, you should be thinking: “The Cross is my way of life; the Cross is the reason that I can live.” 

 

So this is eternal life: To be saved by Jesus Christ, the One Who hung on the Cross as a symbol for all generations. What an incredible symbol! Can you think of a better symbol – Our Lord looking down upon us and saving us? Now we adorn our houses and our churches and our breast and everything else with the Cross. But we must understand what the meaning is: the Cross saves, because we need Jesus Christ to change our nature. And that’s what He did when He was up on the Cross.


In a few hours we will be singing,

 

“Before Thy Cross we bow down and worship, and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify.”[7]

 

The Cross and the Resurrection must be spoken of in the same context, in the same sentence, in the same breath. When you look at the Cross, you should see the Resurrection because the Lord allowed Himself to be crucified so that He would go down to Hades and break it.

The only way to realize this salvation is of course to believe in Jesus Christ. This is what we must do. This is our task, because:

 

after the Lord says: “the Son of Man must be lifted up,” He follows:  “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

I’ve spoken of this word “belief” many times. This is one of the most misunderstood words ever. To believe is not just to know something that’s true. To believe is not to think something is true. Belief is to live according to what is true.

So we believe in the Son of Man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten. That is, we live as He lived

So when you look at the Cross, there should be many things that go through your mind. I don’t mean necessarily discrete thoughts because thoughts are really not capable of expressing the meaning of the Cross, however the soul knows.

What is everlasting life? It is to know Jesus Christ. This is very early in the Gospel of John, only the third chapter. Later on in the 17th chapter, after many months of ministry and perhaps even years of ministry, the Lord spoke to His disciples about eternal life at the Last Supper, at the institution of the Eucharist, and He said,

 

“This is eternal life, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou has sent.”[8]

Eternal life is possible because of our Lord’s death on the Cross. So when you look to the Cross, look to the source of your salvation, and note that the original cross, shall we say, or one of the original crosses, one of the many types of the crosses in the Old Testament, was this standard with the serpent on it. And the people were saved from the poison that was in their systems. And there is poison in you. And that poison, the Lord wants to have obliterated, and that poison is sin and passion.

 

This is the road to salvation: To look upon the Cross and to desire to follow the way of the Cross, which is our Lord’s way. And may God help you.

Now, remember that tonight at two o’clock we’ll have vigil for the Exaltation of the Cross[9]. This is a very, very important service. At the end of the service we prostrate ourselves before the Cross, and then we stand up again because the Cross is the source of our resurrection.

It is one thing to talk about it, but it is another thing to live it. You should be living in the Resurrection right now today, brothers and sisters, living for eternity, not for anything temporary. You’re no longer creatures of the earth, but you’re creatures of Heaven. You’re citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom now. And indeed in the Divine Liturgy we are in the Kingdom at this very moment, although you might not feel it; it’s only because of what’s wrong with us that we don’t feel it; because it is true.

So may God help us to follow the way of the Cross and to be saved. Amen.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.    

Transcribed by the hand of Helen; may God save her and her loved ones.

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross-02_2010-09-26+sunday-before-the-exaltation.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross-02_2010-09-26+sunday-before-the-exaltation.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross-02_2010-09-26+sunday-before-the-exaltation.mp3

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list (http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 



[1] The Exaltation of the Precious Cross is celebrated on Sept 14 (Sep 27 on the civil calendar). The service is very similar when the cross is also commemorated on the third Sunday of Great Lent.

 

[2] John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It was common in the seventies to see these signs (with the verse or just the verse reference)  unfurled in the end zone when an extra point was being kicked in football games.

 

[3] “Son of Man” is used dozens of times in Ezekiel, and in Daniel there is this famous verse: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” (Daniel 7:13)

 

[4] Numbers  21:5-9  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.  (6)  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  (7)  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.  (8)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  (9)  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

 

This incident is referred to in the services for the exaltation of the Cross. For example:

 

“Moses set up on a wooden pole a cure against the deadly, poisonous bite of the serpents as crosswise upon the wood – in a symbol of the cross – he placed a serpent that creeps upon the earth, and thus he triumphed over the calamity. Therefore let us sing to Christ our god, for he has been glorified.” (Matins canon, Exaltation of the Cross)

 

[5] A “type” is an allegorical foreshadowing of a future event or person. You cannot read more than a page in the Old Testament without encountering one, and all the important types – regarding Christ, the crucifixion, the virgin birth, baptism, etc are mentioned in the hymns of Orthodox services – particularly in Vespers and Matins. 

[6] There are literally hundreds of examples. Every Sunday we celebrate the resurrection with dozens of hymns that describe the event of the resurrection, the cross, and all their implications in Vespers and Matins for Sunday. Pascha hymnology is full of this teaching too. Perhaps the best and most clear example is the Paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life”.

[7] See  http://www.orthodox.net/questions/sunday_of_the_cross_1.html for a discussion of this hymn:

Normally Christians do not prostrate themselves on Sunday. Why? What is a prostration? On the Sunday of the Holy Cross we do prostrate. Why and when?

 

Christians do not prostrate on Sunday because this is the day we always celebrate the Resurrection, and we recall how God is able to make us stand. Our standing reminds us of the resurrection. There are one or two Sundays a year when we do prostrate (the Third Sunday of Great Lent, and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, if it falls on a Sunday. On this day, the hymn "Before Thy cross", which we sing while prostration, teaches us what our prostrations mean:

 

Before Thy Cross, / we fall down in worship, O Master, / and Thy holy Resurrection / we glorify.

 

When we prostrate, it is in worship of the Risen Lord, and when we raise ourselves up, we recall the resurrection.

 

A Christian prostrates when he makes the sign of the cross, and falls to his hands and knees (it is usually easier to have the hands touch the floor a moment before the knees), and bows his head to the ground, then gets back up.

[8] John 17:3

[9] The Exaltation of the Cross was Monday that year. I have often struggled with a way to get people to attend vigil on Sunday because many do not want to go home and then come back. I cannot say that any solution has been satisfactory – either serving vigil early in the afternoon, after we have eaten breakfast, or serving at the usual time at night.

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Illumined With Effulgence Of The Virtues. To Be In The Presence Of God

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Transfiguration Icon.

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Old for the new but still new for the old since we are in the post-festival period of the Transfiguration, this short homily highlights something we must keep in mind every day.

Synopsis: The most important aspect of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor is that it is a harbinger of things to come. The apostles were not ready to be in the presence of the divine uncreated light of God, and yet in the end we all will be in His presence. What must we do to become ready? The aposticha for the forefeast teaches us: "Illumined with the effulgence of the virtues, let us proceed to the holy mountain, that we may behold the divine Transfiguration of the Lord." (Vespers Aposticha, August 5, Forefeast of the Transfiguration). Let us look at what happened to the apostles and why and what we must do as the aposticha teaches.

More homilies on the Transfiguration are HERE


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Old Testament Appearances Of Jesus Christ. Exegesis of the Parables For Transfiguration Vespers

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Transfiguration Icon.

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Synopsis:Old for the new, but still new for the old since we are in the midst of the after-feast for transfiguration, the Parables at Transfiguration Vespers are important to understand. Similar events to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ occurred in the Old Testament. Three selections from the Old Testament are read during the Vespers, involving Moses twice and also the Prophet Elijah. These parables are briefly explained.

More homilies on the Transfiguration are HERE

Exodus 24:12-1812 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. 14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. 15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6, 8 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. 12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. 17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. 5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

1 Kings 19:3-9, 11-13, 15-16 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 15 And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

 


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