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Sacred Legacies: Saints and Insights from John and Acts


"Welcome to our study on Sacred Legacies. Today, we honor John the Apostle and Saint Arsenios the Great. In Acts 2:22-39, Peter proclaims Jesus as the Messiah, emphasizing repentance and forgiveness. John 19:25-28 reveals Jesus's care for his mother, Mary. Lastly, John 21:24-25 highlights John's Gospel as a pathway to faith. Through these texts, we uncover timeless truths and legacies of faith. Let's explore together."

Synaxis of John the Apostle, Evangelist, and Theologian:

Today, on the significant feast day of May 8th, we honor our Holy Apostle John. This day is a yearly commemoration of a truly miraculous event that took place in Ephesus. On this day, a unique substance, manna, was mysteriously poured from his tomb. This manna, a divine gift, was not of this world, and its use led to the deliverance of various soul and body disorders. John the Apostle, hailing from Bethsaida of Galilee, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and his brother was James the Elder. Originally a fisherman by trade, he became an Apostle and a beloved disciple of Christ. He is revered as a theologian for his profound exposition of his Gospel, which delves into the incomprehensible and eternal birth of the Son and the Word of God the Father.

Saint Arsenios the Great:

Saint Arsenios, the deacon of the Church of Rome, was born into an illustrious and virtuous family. During the days of Saint Theodosius the Great, Aresnios was chosen to tutor the Emperor's young sons, Arcadius and Honorius. His job as a tutor had him surrounded by a life of luxury and sin, and because of this, Arsenios often sought God with tears to guide him to salvation. His prayer one day was heard when a voice came to him saying, "Arsenios, flee from men, and thou shalt be saved." Arsenios eventually became a monk, and after attaining heights only reached by a few, he reposed in peace about the year 449; he was ninety-five years old.

Reading from Acts 2:22-38:

In verses 22-25, Peter argues that Jesus was the true Messiah, the Holy One mentioned in Psalm 16.

In verses 25-28, Peter quotes Psalm 16, in which King David wrote about the Holy One who is Christ.

In verses 29-35, Peter again quotes the Psalms and explains the Lordship of Christ and David about the Holy One; where David wrote in the Psalm, "The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

In verse 36, "made" refers to Christ's Incarnation and His works as a Man, not His external existence as Lord and God.

In verse 37, "They were cut to the heart" by Peter's words because they all understood that the Old Testament had prepared them. Most of Peter's words are quotations from the Old Testament scriptures. The evidence that Jesus has fulfilled all these prophecies overwhelms them all.

In verses 38-39, Peter defines the Christian way of life within the Church. According to the scriptures, there are three steps, and the trinitarian formula stands out. Step 1, Repent, which is a confession to God, lays at the heart of the Father, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and third, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Orthodox Church is called chrismation. In the Orthodox Church, individuals repent in confession to God at the altar. We do not confess to the priest but to God and God alone; our priest is there for guidance, and we also renounce the devil and his ways. Second is baptism, and lastly, receive the Holy Spirit.

 Luke 24:44-49, in both passages, emphasizes Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecies, his resurrection, the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins, and the empowerment of the disciples through the Holy Spirit for their mission. Both passages highlight the central themes of Jesus' ministry, his death, resurrection, and the commissioning of his followers to spread the Gospel.

Reading John 19:25-28:

1.    Addressing Mary as a "Woman" (v. 26), Jesus uses dignity and affection, reflecting deep respect and distinction. This term is sacred in Scripture and conveys reverence (see also John 2:4; John 4:21; John 8:10; John 20:13), akin to its usage in Genesis 2:23.

2.    By entrusting Mary to John's care with the words, "Behold your mother" (v. 27), Jesus symbolically establishes Mary's role as the mother of all faithful disciples in every generation.

3.    Jesus' action suggests that if Mary had other children, he wouldn't have entrusted her to John's care, as her children would have fulfilled that responsibility. This supports the traditional teaching of Mary's perpetual virginity, which is further confirmed by Jesus' action.

4.    Christ's directive to care for parents, even until our last breath, underscores the importance of honoring and caring for our parents, echoing the broader scriptural principle of filial piety (JohnChr).

19:28: In John 19:28, Jesus's statement "I thirst" reflects his human experience and underscores his identification with our physical needs. This act symbolizes his assumption of human vulnerability, highlighting his journey to deliver humanity from spiritual thirst (see John 4:13-14; John 7:37-38). The reference to Psalm 22:16 emphasizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy at this moment.

Reading John 21:24-25:

In John 21:24-25, John's use of "we" suggests he had an assistant, likely Prochorus, a scribe who recorded his teachings. This tradition is supported by many icons depicting Prochorus with John. John's Gospel, while containing only a portion of Jesus's life, is crafted to lead its readers to faith (John 20:31). Although other Gospels offer more details on miracles and parables, they are not exhaustive. These verses emphasize the sanctity of John's writing and highlight the ongoing oral tradition within the Church, as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

"As we conclude our journey through Sacred Legacies, may the wisdom gleaned from Acts and John inspire us to walk in the footsteps of faith, embracing the teachings of Peter, the care of Christ, and the legacy of John. Let these sacred truths guide our hearts and actions as we explore and deepen our understanding of the eternal truths revealed in Scripture. Amen."

In Christ, love Jared W Campbell

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