St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY

Jesus says that He is the bread which has come down from Heaven, that we must physically eat His body to have eternal life, and that He will raise those who believe on the last day, and this upsets many of his followers. Jesus states these things clearly and without equivocation and makes no attempt to offer a more crowd-pleasing teaching.

John next tells of Jesus teaching at the Fesival of Booths, where Jesus states that His teaching comes from God, not from any man, which hearkens back to Jeremiah 31:31ff, where God says that His new covenant will no longer need to be taught by men, since God will forgive them. In this, the New Testament and forgivness are bound up with teaching.

Direct download: John04b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jesus is provoking the religious with His statements; if the statements are true, we must worship Him, if they be false, His blasphemy would carry the punishment of death. Whatever His followers knew, His detractors understood this.

A number of people listen to Jesus preach for a day, and by the end, they are hungry. Jesus finds a boy with five barley loaves and two small fish. With this, five thousand are fed, and the scraps from the loaves (and from no other food) fill up twelve baskets. This event is important enough to be mentioned in all four gospels.

The people there think Jesus to be the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15, and want to make Him their king, but Jesus withdraws. Some of the people meet up with Jesus and ask Him about more miracles of bread. Jesus tells them that for God, providing them with food is nothing compared with providing them with what they really need, the bread of life, which Jesus provides for us in the Eucharist.

Direct download: John04a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jesus heals a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years. The man takes up his mat and is accused for taking up his mat on the Sabbath, ignoring the great feat of healing that just took place. When pressed on this point, Jesus declares that He is working on the sabbath because His father is working. This stirs up some people because while  there was a Jewish tradition of calling God our father, calling Him one's own father means that the speaker is either blaspheming or the begotten son of God.

Jesus, who brought up the point, does not back down, but rather points out His authority comes from the father, who has given all judgment to the son. Jesus also states that judgment will be based on whether we do
good or evil.

Direct download: John03b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jesus returns to Galilee after the arrest of John, but even at that time, the disciples of Jesus were baptising more people than John the Baptist. Even still, there is no evidence that any baptisms were sacramental baptisms before Pentecost. As He travels through Samaria, and runs into a woman who is drawing water at high noon, trying to avoid the others in the community. Jesus baits the woman into asking Him about the "living water" that he can give her. He explains that this water will become a spring and anyone who drinks of it will never be thirsty again. If we have truly received this living water, this should be our experience as well, though it may be that we have only allowed it to be a trickle in us.

Jesus' disciples come back and tell Him to eat something, but He tells them that His food is doing the will of God, and that it is important to begin the harvest when some are now ripe. Jesus then goes into Galilee, where He is initially well-received. John places this next to Jesus' statement that a prophet is not welcome in his own country, implying that Jesus' country was in Jerusalem.

A man asks Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus challenges him, saying that men only believe if they see signs. The man is not intimidated, but continues in parental concern. Jesus heals his son.

Direct download: John03a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

John identifies several Passovers that span the length of Christ's ministry, and the first Passover that is identified is the one when Jesus cleanses the temple. Since the synoptic gospels say that this happened on the last week before Jesus' death, this raises the very real possibility that Christ cleansed it more than once.

Jerusalem was packed during the days leading up the Passover, and to avoid having travelers driving livestock through the town, the livestock trade was brought into the outer court, the court of the Gentiles. The business of the Passover had taken over, which was a pragmatic reaction to the logistics of managing the Passover sacrifice. So Jesus drives the merchants out of the temple, fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 69.

Nicodemus comes to see Jesus, who tells him that he needs to be born again. This confuses Nicodemus, since conversion was not something that he expected.

Direct download: John02b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

John's gospel takes the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist at length, because John the Evangelist was a disciple of John the Baptist, and then discusses several signs. A sign is something that signifies something else, in this case, pointing to the spiritual reality that we might not otherwise notice.

The first sign is the Wedding Feast at Cana. The wine runs out at a wedding feast, and Mary (never called by name in John's gospel) asks him to do something. Jesus asks what the situation had to do with Jesus and Mary, but still changes water into wine, signifying the importance of a wedding and thus blessing the ceremony. Doing this, we know that he is able to change reality. He can alter reality and he isn't just changing perception.

Direct download: John02a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jesus was present at the creation, and all created things were created through Him. In that beginning, the Son was in dynamic relationship with the Father. John talks in the introduction about logos (the Word), life and light, which can be used, along with love, as a mnemonic of John's themes for English speakers. John the Evangelist then takes time to talk about John the Baptist. The Jewish establishment came to ask John who he was shortly after he baptised Jesus, and John tells them that he is the voice of one crying in the wilderness as foretold in Isaiah. John proclaims Jesus the Son of God, and shortly thereafter, disciples begin to follow Him.

Direct download: John01b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EDT

The Church recognizes four apostolic witnesses to the Gospel. Three of them are known as synoptic, that is, they recount the same events. The Gospel according to John, however, recounts many events that do not appear in the other three. John states that he is writing so that we may believe, but it seems that this was written to Christians, so that they might truly believe in a time when the Jewish and Christian groups were diverging. Irenaeus, who was the disciple of one of John's disciples, states that this was written by John.

John's gospel begins by recounting Jesus' signs and quickly leads to His passion, which begins the most significant aspect of the Gospel.

Direct download: John01a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15am EDT

Paul began Romans talking about how many gifts the Roman church had. At the end, Paul makes reference to some times that he has had to remind them. The final doxology talks about the obedience of faith echoes the identical phrase at the start. Paul also tells them that he intends to make the Gentiles a priestly offering to God. Here he does not use the term for the governing priest (presbyter), but rather the Greek term for priest (hieros). The Greek term was not used for the office of priest, since that title was reserved for Christ alone.

Paul then talks about his plans to visit Rome, but Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem and imprisoned. He would come to Rome in chains. The letter ends with a series of greetings, quite often to people in lay ministry, but Paul also notes that you are to avoid those who cause dissent against what you have been taught.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.

Direct download: Romans13b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Paul continues that those of us who are strong must "bear with the failings of the weak" rather than pleasing ourselves. It is in this sense that we should try to live in harmony with our neighbors--not a false harmony of placation, but truly tying to build him up in faith. A Jewish Christian, for example, may opt to keep some of the Old Testament observances, and a Gentile should not try to dissuade him from doing that. Likewise, a Gentile will not be bound by the old precepts, and through that, show God's mercy. We must do everything we can to confirm the faith of our neighbors.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.

Direct download: Romans13a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am EDT