Matthew 22:1-15

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 49 – 2/1/2015

Fr. John Codis

22:1-14

Who Enters into the Kingdom

Joy and Judgment

The Jews ages ago were invited by God to be his chosen people. Yet when God’s Son, Christ, came into the world, and they were invited to follow him they disrespectfully refused.

  1. Invitation of God is joyous.
  2. Distractions are not necessarily bad.
  3. A sense of loss
  4. Invitation of Grace.

This resulted in God going out to the highways and byways, to the sinners and Gentiles, inviting all by His grace to the Wedding Feast.

The repeated sending out of servants shows Gods great desire to have His people with him in the Kingdom.

We are too often contemptuously refusing Gods call. He always takes a back seat to our lives. Sometimes not out of our own desire, but out of our own neglect. It is the grace of Christ, which allows us His invitation, and we must not make our lives so busy, being preoccupied with things that are seen but to refocus us on things that are unseen.

The Scrutiny of the King

“The door is open to all people, but when they come they must bring a life which seeks to fit the love which has been given to them. Grace is not only a gift, it is a grave responsibility.”

The door is not open for a sinner to come in and remain a sinner, but for the sinner to come and become a saint.

Garment of Mind – Expectation

Garment of Heart – Humble Penitence

Garment of Soul – Faith and Reverence

We need to enter God’s house, His Church, with a preparedness which we lack at times. A little prayer, a little thought, and a little self-examination would go a long way, then worship would be worship indeed!

Matthew 21:18-46

Adult Christian Education

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

Matthew 21:18-46

January 25, 2015

  

Israel: The Withered Fig Tree

Christ saw not only a fig tree, but the people of Israel and their Temple. Like the fig tree whose leaves promised food, the outward pomp and glory of the Temple promised spiritual fruit to all the world. But just as the fig tree’s leaves hid its fruitlessness, so the outward glory of the Temple hid the spiritual fruitfulness of the Jews.

Jewish Leaders Question Jesus- An intense, yet brief exchange.

The leaders were furious that He cleansed the Temple and wanted to put Jesus on the spot. They posed the question, by what authority is He performing the cleansing?

Counter – Question by Jesus- the Baptizer and his baptism- Is it from Heaven or man?

We do not know- Jesus refuses to answer their questions.

Sinners Believers

Jesus continues to respond to their question by asking for their opinion.

A man and two children- which did his bidding- the first they claim.

Jesus strong response- “The tax collectors and prostitutes are going before you into the kingdom of God.

Leaders Mistrust God’s Messengers – Parable of the Vineyard

The landowners- the harvest and the mistreatment of those doing the bidding of the owner.

It is reminiscent of God’s response to Israel sending Prophet after Prophet to His stiff- necked people with no response.

The disrespect of the son- who was seen as the heir- they wanted his inheritance.

The Result

The Chief priests and elders listening were horrified at this conclusion, for they knew only too well that they had been cast in the part of the rebellious farmers.The Kingdom of God would therefore be taken from them and be given to a nation producing the fruits of it.

Matthew 20:29-34; 21:1-17

The Gospel of Matthew Bible Study

Outline for Matthew 20:29-34; 21:1-17

Jan 18th, 2015

Sampson Kasapakis

 

The Bible Passage titles for today’s Bible Studies are:

  • Two Blind men Confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 20:29-34)
  • Palm Sunday: The Messianic King (Matthew 21:1-11)
  • Jesus Purifies the Temple (Matthew 12-17)

 

Think of these questions while we read:

  • How do you feel when people try to talk over you?
  • How do you feel try to suppress your beliefs?
  • When do you have the most compassion towards another?
  • Do we care what people say about us?
  • Can you think of the last time you were very angry?
  • Can you remember how you got to that point?

 

Let’s talk about our emotions:

Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing.

Edward Abbey

 

Emotions are contagious. We’ve all known it experientially. You know after you have a really fun coffee with a friend, you feel good. When you have a rude clerk in a store, you walk away feeling bad.

Daniel Goleman

 

“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”

Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Matthew 20:17-28

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 46 – 1/11/2015

Fr. John Codis

20:17-28

Towards the Cross, The False and the True Ambition,

The Lordship of the Cross

 

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

Christ, although he knew of his passion and suffering to come gave a confident assertion of the Resurrection. There is life after death, after the suffering and false ambitions we place on ourselves. The ambition should be the Christian life in whatever cup that has been given to us; a cup that either has us in a short or long routine of suffering.

Towards the Cross

Christ knew that he had a terrible passion to live through. He was to be betrayed, condemned to death, mocked, scourged, and crucified.

Even through all this, Christ still gave a certainty that there was glory at the end. This glory is the Resurrection of the Son of Man.

We all struggle through life but there is the great crown which has been created for us that is, if we are willing to realize the revelation of the Resurrection

The False and the True Ambition

The disciples show us their worldly ambition. How often do we concentrate on our worldly success? Our ambition is not focused on the cross. The cross is the road to our ultimate life in Christ; that is if we are willing to accept it.

We have the invincible faith and unshakeable loyalty of the disciples. That invincible faith is an optimism when all things seem to be conspiring against us, of the Kingdom and through the atmosphere of our inescapable cross we will reach it.

We all have a cup which has been given to us to drink. We have a Christian life to live by, whether it be in a moment’s notice or over a lifetime of struggle, this cup is our cross, to simply drink the cup means to follow Christ wherever he may lead.

The Lordship of the Cross

“The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many” Matt 20:28. St. Athanasius of Alexandria said, “The Son of God became man, that we might become god.”

Matthew 20:1-20

Adult Christian Education Program

St. Demetrios Church

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Gospel of Matthew 20:1-20

Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos

 

The First and the Last-Parable of the Workers in the field.

Our Lord illustrates here the principle of the last being first and the first last by telling another parable, for the Kingdom of the heavens is such that it overthrows all the standards of the age. In chapter 19:27 Peter showed that he was very concerned that he be adequately rewarded for his labor, and was worried that God might unjustly overlook his sacrifice and work. Christ did perceive the question lurking in the background and saw a dangerous attitude in it. In the Kingdom, God’s response to men was still the one of grace, not one of works. God would give to each more than he deserved. Thank God for His mercy and love for us…

The story: a housemaster (landowner) went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He promised the money of the time, denarius for pay. It started in the third hour (9am) which was the normal time for people to find work. Then on to the sixth and ninth hour which is 12 Noon and 3pm. Then on to the eleventh hour which is 5pm. In the late hour of the day he found some men standing idly and asked them why they did not have work and their response was no one asked us to work.

Review the discussion of the landlord with the workers… Realistic expectations and knowing what we sign on for in each encounter with God’s creation.

Warning presented to the disciples and to us in this biblical stop.

A warning to the disciples which was you have received much from Me and the Church in the early days but this does not mean that others will not come along and receive the message and possibly become greater guardians of the faith. Faith is not something that each of us owns rather it is something that gains its power when we give it away. There is no such thing as a favorite nation’s clause.

Infinite compassion of God. It wasn’t that the laborers were lazy it was they were not offered work to do from the start as others where in the beginning of the reading.

By this parable Christ reveals the unworthy and grasping nature of such complaints. The righteous were offered the Kingdom, just like the rest. What harm is it to them if God grants the Kingdom also to the righteous who repent. We own nothing. We just gratefully should receive God’s blessings.

This is the third time that Jesus warned his disciples that he was on the way to the Cross.

Women’s Bible Study

In 2015, the Lord is calling us to thirst for Him and then actively search for Him.

Have you ever been so thirsty and then taken a big sip of fresh, ice cold water?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Yes!    Can you picture the image in your mind?

That feeling of wanting to so desperately quench that intense need for water…and then you take that drink?

The feeling of immense relief as the cold water passes down your throat and even feels like it runs throughout your entire body for an instant.

With that imagery in your mind, and your physical senses awakened, ask yourself

Have you ever been so thirsty for Jesus like that?

Have you ever felt that I just NEED a sip of Jesus to quench my spiritual thirst?

This Sunday, January 4th, we will be meeting to share from John 4:1-42

Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well and He asks her for a drink of water.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

 

Until we gather to study, may the Lord Jesus Christ, The giver of life and refreshment to all, place on the inside of you an insatiable thirst for Him!

 

To God for His Glory displayed in our lives,

Helena and Christian

Matthew 19:10-22

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 43 – 12/21/2014

Fr. John Codis

19:10-22

The realization of the Ideal, Jesus’ Welcome for the Children, The Great Refusal

Only the Christian can accept the Christian ethic

Christ speaks about celibacy as a gift from God, just as marriage between a man and woman is also a gift from God.

“The holiness of virginity not as a rejection of marriage, but as a special calling for those to whom it has been given.”

Christ acknowledges not everyone can make room in his heart for this word of teaching, and that most men will find it difficult, to not marry. In the world, it is easier to regard marriage simply as a contract one can make or break at will. But those to whom it has been given by God to become His disciples are not of the world. They belong to the Kingdom and can, through God, do the apparently impossible.

Christ Welcomes Children

Although the disciples rebuke the mothers and their children, Christ instead allowed the children to approach him and said let these children be the example to all of you; they are the ones who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Great Refusal

We are to be wholly open to all the things Christ asks of us, even it if makes us uncomfortable in our minds. This feeling of discomfort can only be cured by picking up our cross and following Christ.

If we truly wish to become disciples of God, then we must not be like the young man and feel sorrow for when we must give up the lap of luxury. We must rejoice that God has a higher calling for us, a calling to perfection which we are made for.

 

 

Matthew 18:21-35; 19:1-9

Adult Christian Education

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

Matthew 18:21-35, 19:1-9

pgs.’ 52-53

 

Forgiveness in the Church

  1. Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
    1. Peter comes to Christ with a question, “How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?”
    2. Jesus response not “up to seven times but up to seventy times seven”

Do not keep track of wrong doings

Parable- story of a man, a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.

Talents- each talent worth approx., six thousand denarii, or six thousand days’ wages for the laborer, 10,000 talents was an extraordinary amount. Debt is unrealistic- billions of dollars in today’s world. Figure is huge because it images the debt of sin we owe to the King of Heaven.

The slaves plea and later actions toward one who owed him 100 denarii (that is just over 3 month wages for the working man, a figure 600,000 times less than he owed the King.)

“Be patient with me and I will repay you”

Reasonable demand of the King to forgive what the man could not do even though his life and family were spared.

Message to us- forgive, forget, move on.

The past is behind us, the future is unknown, live in the joy of the present!

 

  1. Final part of Christ’s journey to Jerusalem (20:17)

Wherever Jesus went, there was the power of God.

  1. Conflict with the Pharisee over Divorce
    1. They ask if it is permitted for a man to dismiss his wife in divorce in every cause. It wans’t a question but a trap.
    2. Jesus Christ refers them to scripture- He who created them Gen 2:24,  a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, so that the two will be one flesh.
  • Pharisee refer to what Moses wrote later in the law

A man shall give his wife a booklet of divorces and dismiss her (Deut. 24:1-3) If divorce is contrary to the will of God, why did Moses

command this? To prevent serial divorces and remarriage of the same women. This was a practice referring to the trading of animals.

  1. Christ rather severe response and acknowledgement not everyone can make room in his heart for his word of teaching.

Matthew 18:10-20

The Gospel of Matthew

12/7/14

Sampson Kasapakis

Matthew 18:10-20

Finding the Lost Sheep

 

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

–Matthew 18:10-14

 

  • This narrative of finding the Lost Sheep can also be found in Luke 15:3-7. Take a look at this version as well.
  • Look at some of the bible passages where we are compared to sheep within parables.

Some examples are: 1 James 2:25, John 10:11-16, John 10:26-30, Matthew 25:31-46

  • What is the symbolic nature of a sheep? How are we like sheep?

 

-“He calls them “sheep” on account of their gentleness, and because they yield fruit and useful things for us, as do sheep, providing wool, which is divine and spiritual protection, and milk, which is the spiritual sustenance of what is needed. The goats are the sinners, for they walk along the precipices and are unruly and fruitless”- Blessed Theophylact

-The Greek word for sheep is πρόβατον. It literally means any four-footed, tame animal accustomed to graze, most common a sheep or a goat; but especially a sheep. The word has a deeper meaning than just that when broken down. The word πρόβατον is a derivative of προβαίνω. When you dissect it you see two words, πρός, from πρός, meaning, toward, and βαίνω, to go, which is really from βάσις, which means a step, or in the verb form, to take a step. When it is broken down like this you can see why we as Gods People are compared to sheep. We are just like sheep, in a manner of we are to take steps towards something, and that something is God.

The weekly challenge: Be a sheep…I know it sounds ridiculous but hopefully after this it wont: “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…”

–Matthew 25:32-34