Posts

Matthew 5:13-20

Adult Bible Study Class

Study Guide

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

November 3, 2013

Matthew 5:13-20

 1.    You are the salt of the earth

Just as salt that loses its savor becomes insipid and useless, so the disciples who become foolish is also useless.

 2.    You are the light of the world

A city atop a mountain is not able to be hidden, let your light shine before men.

 3.    Christ and the Law

Matthew is concerned to show to his Jewish audience how Christ’s interpretation of the Law though different from that of the Pharisee’s, nonetheless fulfills the inner and the true demands of God’s Law.

 4.    Where heaven and earth remain, God’s Word will abide

 Christ is saying that the Scriptures are authoritative and divine down to the least part of each letter. 

 5.    Following and not following the teachings of Christ

Being called least in the Kingdom.

Being called great in the Kingdom.

Matthew 4:23-25; 5:1-12

Adult Study Class

Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 4:23-25; 5:1-12

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

 Summary of Jesus’ Ministry – Pg. 12

  1. Jesus ministers to the crowds:
    1. Matthew’s report of Jesus Christ astounding success finding a welcome everywhere.
    2. Healing every disease and malady among the people – no affliction beyond his reach.  No wonder so many followed him.

The Beatitudes: The Blessing of True Disciples – pg. 12

 1st  Discourse – The Sermon on the Mount

    1. A God spoke from the Mountain in Moses’ time so now He speaks from the mountain with Christ.  He was expounded the truth!
    2. Beatitudes stand at the head of the Sermon on the Mount.
    3. Beatitudes are Christ’s promise to the disciples.
    4. Despised state of His disciples form the background to the Beatitudes.  Christ’s followers were despised by the Pharisees.  They denounce the followers of Jesus Christ as hapless and pathetic of men.
    5. Christ therefore counters this saying – those who have chosen to follow Him are blesses (Gr. Makarios)
    6. Meaningful and ninefold description of His true followers.  Indication of the reversal of their current position to one of Glory in the Kingdom.
    7. They are not commendations for certain virtues or state of mind.
    8. Blessed are the ___________________ for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven

Poor in spirit

Those who mourn

The meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

The merciful

The peace makers

Those who have been persecuted

Next Class – You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)

Matthew 4:12 – 17

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 7 – 10/20/2013

Fr. John Codis

4:12 – 17, Christ Settles in Galilee

 

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

The time had come for Christ to go forth and begin His ministry.

His first act was to literally shut the door that lay behind Him before he opened the door that stood in front of Him.  In life there comes these moments of decision.  Christ did not vacillate but with surgical precision decided between the two courses of action.

Christ began His ministry in Galilee because it was a densely populated area of Palestine, where there were the most people to hear him.  Not only does the population number allow for such fertile ground, the Galileans themselves were ready to follow a leader.

The reason the Galileans were so open to new ideas is threefold:

  1. It was surrounded by Gentiles and for that reason they were open to new ideas in a way that no other part of Palestine was.
  2. The roads of the world passed through Galilee as was saw in Nazareth.
  3. Its geographical position had affected Galilee’s history almost exclusively through foreign invasion.

The natural characteristics of Galilee and its history made it the one place that a new message had a real chance of being heard.  This is where Christ began His mission and first announced His message.

Matthew’s use of the Old Testament

Matthew finds a prophecy in Isaiah 9:1, 2 which describes that Palestine and the territories being concurred at that time by the Assyrians, which foretold of the light that Jesus was to bring.

“Jesus began to preach”

We see one brief sentence of the message which Jesus brought.  “Jesus began to preach” (Matt. 4:17).  Jesus was the herald who had in his voice a note of certainty, authority, and a source beyond himself.

Conclusion

“The message of Christ consisted of a command that was the consequence of a new situation.”  Christ said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at Hand.”

Matthew summarizes Jesus’ message with the same words that were spoken by John the Baptist.  For both Jesus and John were sent by the same Father, of whom Jesus is the Only Begotten Son and Messiah and John as His Forerunner.  

Matthew 4:1 – 11

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 6 – 10/13/2013

Fr. John Codis

4:1 – 11 The Temptation of Jesus

 

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

The narration of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness is not only a biographical fact but also a paradigm for Christians.  Matthew provides a model for how Christians can triumph over the devil as Christ did. 

The presentation of temptations found in Matthew graphically with the devils appearance in physical form and the changes of place (wilderness, temple, lofty mountain) is not intended to be understood as a “perceptible occurrence but to portray a trial undergone by Jesus at the outset of his messianic career.”

Christ is “tested by the devil”

We must understand first the meaning of the word to tempt. The Greek word is peirázei. We need to interpret this meaning as to test far more than it means to tempt.

“What we call temptation is not meant to make us sin; it is meant to enable us to conquer sin.”

Christ is “led up into the wilderness by the Spirit”

Christ went into the wilderness to be alone.  It was this desolate place, which he could be more alone than anywhere in Palestine.

It was in this way the Spirit moved him, to be alone, to think how he was to attempt the task which God had given him to do.  He had to be alone.

We make many mistakes because we do not allow ourselves to be alone with God.

The Temptations or rather, The Tests

i.He was hungry”

  1. This is a temptation to Jesus to use his powers selfishly and for his own use, and to let his appetite set the addenda for Him.
  2. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds through the mouth of God” (Deut. 8:3).

ii.“Throw yourself down”

  1. This is a temptation to Jesus to prove that he can expect special protection from God, and thereby have the psychological security of knowing that he is invincible.
  2. “It is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God”’(Deut. 6:16).

iii.“Fall down and worship me”

  1. This final temptation is one that is timeless; it is to compromise one’s allegiance to God for the sake of worldly gain.
  2. “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

Conclusion

We cannot read this story without remembering that its source was Christ himself.  No one was with him when this struggle was being fought out. We know of it only because Christ himself must have told his disciples. It is Christ telling us his spiritual autobiography.

When we approach this reading one must approach it with special reverence, for in it Christ is laying bare his inner most heart and soul.  He is telling us his struggles.  Christ is saying to us that he can help others who are tempted because he himself was tempted.

Matthew 3:7-12

Adult Study Class

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 3:7-12

Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos

The Baptism of Repentance

Preparation for Christian Ministry

John’s function is that of a herald of the coming kingdom- heralding in the wilderness of Judea.

The Messianic reign of God over Israel is at hand, yet Israel is not ready to receive the Messiah.

Matthew reveals John’s place in the divine plan with a citation from Isaiah the Profit. – Voice shouting in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His path (IS 40:3)

The struggle of the Jews of the day – they will not be saved just because they are Jewish.

John points away from himself and toward the one to come – Jesus Christ.

Messiah’s power differs from John’s as fire is different from water.  John’s baptism in water, but Messiah will baptize n the Holy Spirit and fire.

Baptism of Christ

Matthew 2:19-23

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 3 – 9/29/2013

Fr. John Codis

2:19-23 Return to Nazareth

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

The historical background of the Return to Nazareth helps us understand why God warned Joseph in a dream to withdraw from Israel and go to Galilee.  Although Herod was dead, he left his territory divided among his sons. 

The one who reigned in Judaea was Archelaus, who was a ruthless king.  This is the reason why Joseph withdrew to Galilee.  For the son who ruled there, Herod Antipas, was a much better king.

It was in Nazareth that Joseph settled, and it was in Nazareth that Jesus was brought up.  Nazareth was not a small town; on the contrary it was a vibrant city, which tied the Western and Eastern trade routes, where many travelers over land and sea would pass by.  Therefore, Jesus was exposed to many different kinds of people through his childhood.

The years between childhood and a man of thirty

Jesus is the great example of one who accepted the simple duties of the home.

  1. Jesus was fulfilling the duties of an eldest son.  He became the village craftsman of Nazareth to support his mother and family.
  2. Jesus was learning what it was like to be a working man.
    1. Learning what it was like to:
      1. Earn a living
      2. Save to buy food and clothing
      3. To meet dissatisfied and the critical customer
      4. The customer who does not pay debts

We can derive from this that if Christ was to help man and save us, he must know what our lives were like.  He worked in Nazareth all these years so that he can know what our lives are like so that he may be able to help.

Conclusion

The one point that can be derived from this pricope, is that Christ became one of us, lived among us, and by doing so, learned who we are so that he can take us back to his creation, that image and likeness that was perfected in Jesus.

Matthew 2:1-8; 2:9-12; 2:13-18

Adult Study Class

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 2:1-8, 2:9-12, 2:13-18

Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos

Things you should know:

A. Visit of the MagiMt 2: 1-8

Magi were originally members of the  Persian priestly class skilled in ancient science such as astrology. Venerable men seekers after eternal life and universal truth.

Dwelt in the east, supposedly three but actual number not known.

B. Star of Bethlehem Mt 2:9-12

Great star seen in the sky- alignment of planets in 7 BC Saturn and Jupiter joined a year later by Mars.

Herod, Christ Birth, insecurity of ruler.  Herod tried to use Magi to find Jesus Christ the child.

When the magi saw the star, they knew that their goal was at hand and they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Came into the presence of the Christ child and His Mother and fell down to worship him.

Mystical Significance of Gifts:

  • Gold- sign of Christ’s royalty
  • Frankincense- evidence of His deity
  • Myrrh- sign of His saving birth

In the Magi, God reveals His love for the Gentiles, allowing them to hear His voice, using such methods of revelation as they would listen.

Adoration a royal homage

 C.Flight to Egypt Mt 2:13-18

Arise and the child and His mother flee to Egypt for Herod’s about to seek for the child to destroy Him.

God knows us and protects us even warns us what is good or bad-

Question are we listening?

Fulfillment of prophecy – Hosea 11:1

“From Egypt I have called My Son”

Herod is mocked by the Magi becomes indignant and slaughters children under 5. This caused people to all the more follow Him.

Death of innocent – 14,000 Infants in Bethlehem.

Matthew 1:18-25

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 2 – 9/15/2013

Fr. John Codis

1:18 – 25 The Birth of Jesus Christ

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.  But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’  So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’’ Then Joseph, being aroused form sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know here till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.  And he called His name Jesus.”  Matt 1:18-25

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

The Nativity is best understood in relation to the coming salvation and its prophetic expectation, which had been already promised by the Lord speaking through Isaiah (Chrysostom).

Born of the Holy Spirit – The significance of the Role of the Holy Spirit in the birth Narrative.

This passage tells us how Jesus was born by the action of the Holy Spirit.  It tells us of what we call and understand as the Virgin Birth.

If we come to this passage as if it were the first time we were reading it, then we will find that what it stresses is not so much that Jesus was born of a woman who was a virgin, as that the birth of Jesus is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The role of the Holy Spirit in according to the Jewish idea is, the Holy Spirit was the person who brought God’s truth to men and also to enabled men to recognize that truth when they saw it.

Thus, through this understanding and interpretation we can now more clearly comprehend the significance of the Holy Spirit and how Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, also understood “that which was conceived in her,” was nothing to be overlooked as the Angel of the Lord suggests.

Marriage and Mercy – Betrothal of Mary and Joseph and the Mercy of Joseph.

Betrothal in those days was a legal reality, making the couple actually husband and wife, and such a union could only be broken by actual divorce.

There are three steps in the normal Jewish marriage procedure:

  1. The engagement – This was often done when the couple were only children.
  2. The betrothal – This is the step in what we might call the ratification of the engagement into which the couple had previously entered.  (It was at this stage that Joseph and Mary were.
  3. The marriage proper – which took place at the end of the year of betrothal.

So how are we to better understand the mercy of Joseph in the context of the Jewish understanding of the Holy Spirit and the betrothal?

The righteousness of Joseph consisted of a mercy that transcends the law Hosea 6:6 – “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God More than whole burnt offerings.”

Conclusion

The birth of Christ is best understood in relation to the coming salvation and its prophetic expectation, which had been already promised by the Lord speaking through Isaiah.  The role and interpretation of the Holy Spirit that it is the Holy Spirit who brings God’s Truth to men, and enabled men to recognize that truth when they saw it. Finally understanding that God desires mercy and not sacrifice, through the context of the betrothal of Mary to Joseph.  We as the inheritors of this faith, the ones who Christ came into the world for, must understand “through the Holy Spirit Joy has come to all the world.  Forever praising His resurrection He destroyed death by death.”

Matthew 1:1-17

Fr. Christopher Metropulos
September 8, 2013

The Gospel of Matthew
1st Class: Matthew 1:1-17

1. Introduction to Adult Study Class and the reason to study the Holy Scripture

2. Significance of Holy Scripture

        Center of the Altar Table

        Center of our heart

        Center of our family

Center of our Iconography- Orthodox tradition is expressed in the iconography of our faith.  Four gospels are considered to be symbolized in the images of the four living creatures of the biblical apocalypse; Matthew with the man, Luke with the ox, Mark with the lion and John with the eagle.  (Ezekiel 1:10, Revelation 4:7)

3. Promise of Holy Scripture

4. Message of Holy Scripture

5. Gospel of Matthew

One of the earliest written primarily for the Jewish people to show from the scripture of the Old Testament on that Jesus, the son of David, son of Abraham, is truly the Christ, the bearer of God’s Kingdom to men.  It begins with the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham and the story of Christ’s birth through the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos.  This is and was a very natural way to speak to a Jewish audience since family history is very important.  For if in any man there was the slightest admixture of foreign blood, he lost his right to be called a Jew, and a member of the people of God.  It is the story of how God fulfilled His word to Israel and send them His Messiah, who in turn carried out the work of redemption.

6. Five great blocks of teachings of Jesus are collected and systematized as follows:

  1. The Sermon on the Mount
  2. Duties of the Leaders of the Kingdom
  3. Parables of the Kingdom
  4. Greatness and Forgiveness in the Kingdom
  5. The coming of the King of Glory

7, Some items of importance seen only in Matthew:

  1. Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.  The twelve were to go to those lost sheep and avoid the cities of the Gentiles and the Samaritans.
  2. Offers a scathing attack upon the Pharisees and their Hypocracy (blind guides, brood of vipers, serpents and sons of Gehenna)
  3. The word church is only found in here. 
  4. The words of binding and loosing sins
  5. The founding of the church upon Peter
  6. Peter received the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven
  7. Peter comes to Jesus on the water
  8. Great Commission (28:19) making disciples of all nations

8. 14 Generations-marking signposts along with way of redemption.

A. Abraham to David 750 years

The first section takes the history down to David. David was the man who welded Israel into a nation, and made the Jews a power in the world.  The first section takes the story down to the rise of Israel’s greatest king. 

B. David until the deportation to Babylon 400 years

The second section takes the story down to the exile to Babylon.  It is the section which tells of the nation’s shame, and tragedy, and disaster

C. Deportation to the birth of Christ 600 years

The third section takes the story down to Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ was the person who liberated men from slavery, who rescued them from disaster, and in whom the tragedy was turned to triumph. 

Special notes:

Issac’s birth if the prefigurement of the birth of Christ.  Jacobs twelve sons prefigure the 12 apostles of the age to come. Christ took upon himself a bloodless relationship to our nature to show that the sinful can become holy.

Conclusion:

These three sections stand for the three stages in the spiritual history of mankind.

  1. Man was born for greatness
  2. Man lost his greatness
  3. Man can regain his greatness