Exegesis of Vespers readings for the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Differences between Peter and Paul

Icons of Apostles Peter and PaulLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: A short exegesis of the 3 selections from the Epistles of the Apostle Peter, read at the Vespers for the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The difference between their writings is explored. The Apostle Peter writes with simplicity and the conviction and wisdom that can only be gained by a life lived well, with many moral admonitions, based upon a deep understanding of what the God-man has done for us. It is like listening to your wise grandfather imparting his wisdom at the end of his life. He does not feel compelled to give detailed proofs, but he merely speaks with overpowering conviction because of experience. A few of verses from the selections are explored to illustrate this kind of "fireside chat" character of his writings. Those who are temped to call themselves Christians and still not heed the words of the Apostle " abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" should read the Apostle with greater care and humility. We are in an age that very much needs to heed the words of the Apostle Peter. There is also a short excursus into Peter's restoration and how he was able eventually to say to His Lord, not only did he have affection for Him, but that He loved him with an all consuming, perfect love. This love is only possible if the admonitions of Peter are heeded.


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1 Peter 1:3-9 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.



1 Peter 1:13-19 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 2:11-24 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

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One Response to “Exegesis of Vespers readings for the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Differences between Peter and Paul”

  1. Deborah says:

    Father, Bless,

    I remember how eye opening it was the first time someone pointed out the difference between the love–agape that Christ was referring to and the love-phileo that Peter responded with in the exchange after the Lord's resurrection.
    Your stating in this homily that Peter eventually learned to love the Lord with agape love roused my curiosity and I looked up St. Peter's use of the word love in his two epistles.  There was one reference to love/agape of  Christ and numerous exhortations to the brethren to love/agape one another.  Only once did he call them to phileo-brotherly love/affection. He is quite obviously no longer afraid to use the term agape both in reference to love of Christ and in his commands for Christians to love one another.
    St. Peter's calls for the brethren to have perfect love for one another could be written off as urging them to strive for a standard that they will never achieve in this lifetime.  But in 1 Peter 1:8 he states it as if agape love of Christ was something that had already been accomplished: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love (agapate)."  1 Peter 1:7-9
    That is eye opening and mind blowing, both.

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