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

We are to welcome those weak in faith, and by the same token, we are not to allow those less afflicted with scrupulosity to set the standards. God has welcomed them both, and it is not our place to pass judgment. We will all stand in judgment before God, and we should leave Him that task. This does not mean that we cannot in charity diplomatically object to errors in the essential things of religion.

Even though we are to provide allowances for opinions, we are not to give those who hold stricter rules for themselves reason to stumble. Doing so can cause not only the man to stumble, but has in some cases gone as far as causing schism. It is not right do do anything that would cause your brother to stumble.

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

Direct download: Romans12b.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:41pm EDT

We are to be subject to governing authorities, because they get their authority from God. Even while Rome treated the Jews and the Christians harshly, Rome's infrastructure is what allowed Christianity to flourish. Paul knows that there is no need of insurrection, since God will provide for His people what they need. These governing authorities have ben allowed to exist by God, therefore, he who resists them resists what God has appointed.

This does not mean that these rulers are good, or that there can be no moral resistance. What this does mean that we cannot be advocates of general anarchy or impulsive rebellion. Both in Rome and in countries today, taxes got to purposes that Christians should find repellent, but we are still obliged to pay our taxes.

Neither does this injunction apply only to civil authority, but to all of the Christian's obligations. As Christians, we are not to live our lives in any sort of sin or vice, either.

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

Direct download: Romans12a.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

It may be tempting to be proud of the gifts that God has given us, especially if they are striking gifts, like the gift of prophecy, but we have all been given gifts and these gifts do not make us great, but rather reflect back on God who has given them to us. These gifts must be administered with virtue.

Paul gives a list of things that Christians must do, among them to hate evil, love good, and to repay evil with good. If you do that, those who do evil against you will either bring distress upon themselves or take the first steps to becoming converted to a Christian viewpoint.

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

Direct download: Romans11b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

Paul asks us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Some religions claim that the body is evil and thus that we should be ascetics. Others claim that since our bodies are not of any consequence, we should be free to do whatever we want with them.

Christianity tells us that this is wrong, and that since God has created our bodies good, they are good, and we must not defile those bodies by committing evil acts with them.Our bodies will rise again, as perfected bodies, on the last day. Thus, we should present our bodies as a sacrifice, not dead, like the sacrifices at the temple, but alive.

The bodies we have are to perform specific functions, as well. We cannot be jealous of the other members, but be humble and accept the gifts that we have been given for the common good.

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

Direct download: Romans11a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:42pm EDT

God foreknew some of us who would be saved. These are people who are granted salvation through God's grace, not through any other means. Paul declares that he is an apostle to the Gentiles and that he magnifies his ministry in order to stir his fellow Jews jealous and thus to save some of them. Some of the chosen people were broken off because of their unbelief, but Gentiles should also be concerned, since they are an artificial graft onto the branch of Israel, while Israel naturally belong that branch. All Israel will be saved, and those who do not persist in their unbelief will be grafted in.

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

Direct download: Romans10b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:48am EDT

So has God rejected His people? No, God has used a people (or rather, a group who are no people) to provoke them to jealousy. The Psalms declare that God will not abandon His people. Paul notes that God had preserved a remnant in Elijah's time, and God is doing that at the time of Paul's writing. These people are not chosen by their achievements, but rather by the grace of God. There are some who refuse to knowingly reject Christ, and are satisfied that He was put to death. Those have hardened their hearts, and they are not part of the elect. It is so for every age, where some are tempted to falsely believe that they are not prone to the same sorts of errors in judgment as their ancestors.

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

Direct download: Romans10a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:04am EDT

People cannot know Christ unless men are sent to preach His gospel to them. This must convict us to proclaim the Gospel to the world. Mission cannot exist without striving to convert the people. God says in Torah that He will stir Israel, a foolish nation up to jealousy to those who are not a nation, and in Isaiah, God says that He will be found by those who did not seek Him. They have heard His Gospel, and for those who have not accepted Him, God has forged a new nation out of the Gentiles. We must take care to not fail to take up His mission. The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.

Direct download: Romans09b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:09am EDT

Paul's desire is for all to be saved, both Jew and Gentile. This would not seem to have been accomplished, since there were many who tried to kill him when he returned to Jerusalem. Paul tells us that the Jews were not reckoned the promised land for their own righteousness, but that this righteousness comes from God. Paul also reminds us that Moses has petitioned for the Hebrews, asking God to have mercy despite their sinful ways. When you combine this with the fact that the prophets tell us that everyone who calls upon the name of God will be saved, it is clear that salvation is being offered to all people, Jew and Gentile alike.

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

Direct download: Romans09a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:27am EDT

God has allowed some people throughout history to become vessels of wrath so as to make examples out of them, as He did with Pharaoh. Even in such cases, however, God does not make such a person commit evil: it is still his own choice. It is for this reason that God still finds fault in such people, and why we cannot blame our behavior on our being unable to resist His will. The reason for this is beyond our understanding, but it is something that we can see evidence for from the time of Isaiah.

Direct download: Romans08b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:06am EDT

Paul is troubled by the fact that the Jews have not come to Christ, and he says that if it were possible, he would cut himself off from Christ to save all of them. To the Jews belong sonship of God, still to this date. The covenants and the law belong to them as well. The lineage of Christ by the flesh comes from the Jews.

Paul looks a little more closely at the lineage, and notes that there is more to it than simply birthright, and that some descendants of Abraham are not part of the Jewish people, and thus to parse the promise that way could lead to some troubling implications for the Jews.

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

Direct download: Romans08a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

After you have entered into life in Christ, returning to the life of flesh will only result in condemnation. Even though our bodies are dead, our spirits will remain alive, and the body will arise on the last day. We have become heirs to God, provided that we suffer with Him.

Flesh is subject to decay, but this decay shows us that there is something coming, something greater that will show the glory of the undecayed world. Without something to show us what hope will bring, there would be reason to hope.

God has provided for those he has called, and will conform them to the image of His Son, and since we are being provided for by God, we have nothing to worry about, if we allow ourselves to be conformed, and no thing could possibly separate us from the love of God.

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

Direct download: Romans07b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:40pm EDT

If we are in Christ, then we cannot be subject to condemnation, since Christ's death had taken on all that we could be condemned for. To say otherwise would mean that Christ's death was not effective. Jesus took on the likeness of sinful flesh, that is, the appearance of Christ's flesh was that of the flesh of sinful men. Paul points out that what is in the flesh is opposed to God, and that Christians are now in the spirit, not in the flesh, or else we could not please God. If we do not set our minds on the spirit, but rather, on the flesh, we will reap corruption, not eternal life.

God knows what we are capable of, but He tempers us and tests us so that we may be refined to become what we are.

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

Direct download: Romans07a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:13am EDT

Grace is just another name for the Holy Spirit. When we live under grace, our lives are transformed by Him, and we must not be idle, but rather keep embracing Him and bringing grace into our lives.

Paul laments the fact that he is still in the flesh, sold into slavery to sin. As such, Paul still does things that he does not want to do. No good comes from the flesh, but bad things come from the flesh. We are, in a sense, dragged along by sin, and yet we choose to do these things we abhor. As long as we choose not to be commanded by grace, we are in that state. None can rescue us from that state, but Jesus Christ.

Paul ends chapter seven by saying that he's mentally a slave to Christ, but physically a slave to the law of sin. This cannot be taken to be an excuse to seek anything short of perfection, since Paul tells us that we must reject the ways of the flesh.

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

Direct download: Romans06b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:21am EDT

Paul says that Christians can expect to triumph over sin, but that it remains possible that some may still sin, but some may incorrectly interpret this that Christians will never sin, or never be tempted to sin, or conversely, that no one can ever triumph over sin. Paul is joined by I John in this assertion.

Our original sin was completely destroyed in baptism, and we are no longer enslaved to sin, but we are all tempted, even Christ. We are given a spirit of love and discipline to resist this, and we must use that grace to strengthen ourselves.

We are bound by the law in this life, but not after death, as a woman may remarry after the death of her husband. The law was thus written not to save, but rather for sinners to understand why they were subject to death. Our master is no longer the law, but our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When we were under the law, our sinful passions were aroused by the law. The law, as taskmaster, has brought us to Christ, but now that Christ has come, that part of the law has passed away. This does not make the law sin, for without sin, we would not have known what sin is.

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

Direct download: Romans06a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:14am EDT

Paul tells us that the Christian ought no longer to be slave to sin, which is a very powerful statement indeed. Since Jesus died one for all and died to sin once for all, we, too are to be like Christ and put to death the sinful parts of ourselves, and not a wasting death, but a final, decisive excision. This does not relieve us of the burden of temptation, but God gives us the grace to reject sin, if we act on it.

We are no longer under the law, but under grace, but we still have the duty to avoid sin, since we become slaves of whatever we obey, whether that be righteousness or sin. We had been free from righteousness, but now that we are slaves of righteousness, we receive the grace of sanctification, and avoid the wages of sin, which is death.

We need God's gift of faith before we can begin on this journey.

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

Direct download: Romans05b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:24am EDT

Chapter 6 of Romans starts a new section in Romans, dealing with the necessity of using our faith to be conformed to the Lord's will. We must thus strive for holiness, apart from which no man will see God. We must increase in love to establish ourselves unblameable before God and make holiness perfect in the fear of God. Paul thus makes it clear that our souls must grow or else we cannot be doing God's will.

Some have chosen to selectively quote the first five chapters to mean that works are not necessary to life in Christ, but the rest of the Bible tells us that this is wrong. Works of the law do not justify us, but works of faith are essential. James rails against this belief, telling us that faith is not of any worth if it isn't evidenced by works. James calls that dead, in fact. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are made to do good works. We are certainly saved by grace alone, but we are given a faith that works through love.

Some misinterpreted the statement that where sin increased, grace increases all the more that we should sin to increase grace. Paul denies this, since we have died to sin, and sin should be antithetical to our existence. Our sinful selves died with Christ, and we must not go back to that state.

Not only did we die with Christ, but we were buried with Him in our baptism, a sort of miraculous circumcision of the heart, but made without hands. This baptism puts certain obligations on us, as well.

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

Direct download: Romans05a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

Sin entered the world through Adam, and we know this because all men sin. Our flawed nature is a consequence of that sin. Sin existed before the law, and although sin is not counted where there is no Law, that does not mean that we do not have any guilt for that sin. Indeed, the Law came to increase the trespass of the sin that already existed. Cain, for example, remained culpable for his actions and the Flood came as a consequence for sin.

Some may not recognize that their sin is sin against God, and those people do not have the same sense of sin as Adam, but they are culpable nonetheless. Adam's sin was especially heinous, since he knew in a very unique way what he was doing through that sin. Yet sin continued through people who did not know sin in the same way.

Jesus is also one man, but instead of condemnation, this new man brings the grace of God. By one man's disobedience, all men became sinners, but now, through one man's obedience, all men become righteous. Even so, we must be at peace with God to accept the grace that God is offering us.

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

Direct download: Romans04b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:51pm EDT

Paul continues explaining that we are justified by faith, or as the council of Trent describes, by God's grace. Not only do we need God's grace, but without it, we cannot even grope after God, and that we must use our free will to accept or reject that grace.

This grace puts us at peace with God. Since sin is a natural tension with an all-holy God, this grace puts us at peace with Him. This should give us hope, and we should exult in our hope, but also in our sufferings. Our sufferings produce endurance, through that, character, and through that, an even greater hope.

Finally, this justification through faith gives us fruit of love. God has shown his love in that He died for us while we were still sinners. If only we will allow God to love us, we will allow ourselves to be at peace with God.

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

Direct download: Romans04a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:52pm EDT

Paul shows us that Abraham was not justified by his works, since his faith was not earned, but rather reckoned to him, and since we are not reckoned what we are owed, this could not have been something that was owed to Abraham. Moreover, the sacrificial system is not really a way to earn any salvation, since the remission is only a gift from God and not something earned.

Abraham's faith was not a naive faith, either. Hebrews tells us that Abraham knew that since God's promise was to come through Isaac, and that God would have to raise Isaac to fulfill the promise.

Abraham's faith was reckoned to him before his circumcision, which was a seal of the covenant, and thus he is an example of faith for both the Jew and the Gentile. Just as Abraham's faith was reckoned to him, so will it be reckoned to us if we believe.

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

Direct download: Romans03b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:24am EDT

Paul tells us that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, apart from the Law. This is a recurring theme in Romans. All have sinned, and all require Christ's salvation. God gives us this redemption as a gift, and we are justified through faith, apart from works under the Law.

This cannot be used to support overthrowing the Law, as Paul states here and elsewhere in Romans. We are no longer under the bondage of the Law, but we are still obliged to be holy, for God is holy.

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

Direct download: Romans03a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:13am EDT

Paul tells Jewish Christians that if they think that they are righteous by the Law, they must follow the Law, otherwise the gain they boast in is actually judgment against them.

This is not just a litany of prohibited acts, either. The Law must penetrate into the hearts of those who profess it, as well, and it is precisely this circumcision of the heart that Christians are bound to through Baptism.

For those who do not follow the Law they claim to be heirs of, their circumcision becomes uncircumcision, and it is because of such people that the name of God is blasphemed. Those who loudly condemn certain acts and then commit the same acts cause others to see the faith as a trivial thing and invite such blasphemy. This, however, does not mean that Jewish Christianity is without merits.

Paul tells us that there are some who claim that Christians desire evil so that good may come. This philosophy is condemned, as when we sin, we sin against God and God alone, and all sin offends God. Likewise, we cannot do good works to compensate for our sinfulness, but neither can we deny the fact that God has given us the ability to do good works as a way to lead us back to Him, and we cannot abandon our obligation to do His will.

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

Direct download: Romans02b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:53am EDT

Paul reminds us not to judge others, since we are doing the same things, i.e. sin, even simply by savoring the thought of sin in the heart. This way of thinking may be indicative of a belief that we will somehow escape God's judgment. Those who do such things are storing up wrath in Heaven.

God's judgment will come to both the Jew and the Greek, so none will be spared because God shows no partiality. The fact that some have not yet been punished is evidence of God's forbearance and kindness that He is giving us time to repent.

Those who simply refrain from immorality are not necessarily thereby holy, and while those who follow the law will be judged by the Law, those who do not have the Law (Gentiles) will still be judged by the law written on their hearts. The sins committed in the heart will be made plain by the Judgment.

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

Direct download: Romans02a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:32am EDT

Paul thanks God that the Church in Rome is spoken of highly, and prays that he might come to visit them so that he can strengthen their faith, and they can strengthen his. Though he has not been able to get to Rome, yet, Paul has taken this time to preach to the Greeks, the non-Greeks, the Jews and the Gentiles. Salvation, Paul says, is to "every one who has faith."

Paul reminds us that it is written that "He who through faith is righteous shall live," meaning that God's will is made manifest through faith, as His will directs the actions of those who have faith. Those who do not have faith will incur the wrath of God. This wrath is not a petulant whim, but rather the natural tension that exists between God, who holds out life, and one who would reject it. Man has been turning away from God since the Creation, but man has always known through natural law that God exists, so he has no excuse.

We can also see from natural law that there are certain acts, namely homosexual acts, that are evidence that men have turned away from the natural order. The men of Sodom were particularly known for this act, though some in recent years have made the sin out to be inhospitality or some other sin. The act is what Paul says is sinful here, not the inclination. Paul is not focused on sexual sins, and continues to give other sins that may debase the mind.

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

Direct download: Romans01b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

Paul's epistle to the Romans was written in 35AD from Corinth to the Church in Rome, a group that Paul had not visited at the time he wrote the letter. Paul was returning to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey and viewed Rome as a necessary base through which he could extend his ministry further to the west. Rome was a well-established church at the time, and may have been the cause of agitation over "Chrestus" that Suetonius mentions. Paul was not going to build a church on top of the existing Church there.

Paul intended to send the letter as a contribution to the Romans before going up to Rome himself. To this end, he talks about his mission to the Gentiles and the pitfalls of antinomianism, which is opposed to Paul's explanation of the obedience of faith, and legalism. Romans also was an important text the interpretation of which led the Protestant faiths to break away.

Paul begins by calling himself a slave of Christ, and this implies a certain authority for Paul. Paul also calls himself an apostle, a word used to signify the twelve and also anyone sent on a missionary journey. Paul can claim to have an authority similar to that of Peter, though his mission was to the Gentiles while Peter's was to the Jews, so both would apply to him.

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

Direct download: Romans01a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:52pm EDT

Not all scriptural resources will be accurate, and we must take care to study them prayerfully to determine their accuracy. An example of this is the use of the word ''friend'' in Matthew. Some sources claim that this is a kind term, but its use would indicate that it is more civil than truly kind. Similarly, the term ''evil eye'' is a term used in reference to jealousy within the Church, and not particularly to witchcraft.

We must also make sure to not view the Scriptures legalistically, since legalism cannot be the foundation of a religion.

Finally, we must be sure to weigh the Great Commission appropriately. It instructs us to instruct our children in the ways of the faith, and we must take care to obey this command.

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

Direct download: Matthew9b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:45am EDT

The civil and religious authorities have asked to seal off Jesus' tomb because He has promised to rise from the dead. The fact that the authorities recognized this but not the disciples gives some indication as to how much of a shock the events must have been.

The women take on a major role as they return to anoint Jesus' body. Upon arrival, an angel appears telling the women that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, and that the women must tell the disciples that He will meet them at the appointed place in Galilee.

In Galilee, the disciples meet Jesus on a mountain, and worship Him, but some doubt (the word here also means to hesitate). Jesus comes out to meet them and gives them the Great Commission, telling His disciples to make disciples of all nations, to baptize them in the Trinitarian formula of Father Son and Holy Spirit, and to observe all that He has commanded.

The Gospel of Matthew was probably not conceived as a manual for converts, and the organization of the book suggests that a main theme was the progression of Jesus' teachings and how increasing tensions affected His ministry. This does not preclude reading Matthew as such a manual.

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

Direct download: Matthew9a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:01am EDT

Jesus leaves His disciples after the Last Supper and goes to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. This must have been the most stressful time for any human, since He knew the pain which He was about to endure and He knew that He could avoid it, simply by dropping you and refusing to die on the cross. The disciples, exhausted by the events of the day and drained from the heavy conversation, fall asleep and Jesus chastises them for doing so.

Judas returns with a group of people and gives them a prearranged sign by kissing Jesus. The men arrest Jesus, but Peter draws his sword and attacks the slave of the high priest, cutting off the ear. Jesus immediately stops him and heals the ear, suggesting that we are not the ones to police the Kingdom of God. The soldiers take this opportunity to avoid a riot and they get Jesus and get out.

Jesus is taken to the chief priests, and He refuses to speak, knowing that there would be no benefit. The priests then demand He speak, and when He does, the high priest tore his garment. They mock Jesus and send Him to Pilate, who had the authority to sentence someone to death.

During this time, Peter denies Jesus three times and Judas, remorseful and despairing, commits suicide.

Pilate, no friend of the Jews, initially doesn't want to kill Jesus, but fearing a riot, lets the crowd do what they want. Jesus dies, and various miracles occur, including the bodies of the dead being raised and the sanctuary veil being torn in two. This causes one of the witnesses to declare that Jesus truly was the Son of God.

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

Direct download: Matthew8b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:46am EDT

Jesus tells His disciples that the temple will be destroyed and speaks in stark language about the coming times in the Olivet discourse. His disciples don't fully understand what Jesus is saying, and expect that these events will come quickly. The chief priests and elders, also hearing the things that Jesus is saying, decide that they must arrest Jesus and kill Him. Jesus, knowing this in advance, prepares His disciples for the coming time.

At some point, either on Saturday, Wednesday or possibly both, Jesus is anointed with oil, and His disciples question this. Jesus explains that this is a good deed, and has prepared His body for burial. Judas is particularly upset by this and goes to the chief priests asking for money to turn Jesus over to them. He is offered thirty pieces, which recalls the 11th chapter of Zechariah.

Jesus and the apostles then go to the Passover meal. The Messiah was expected to be revealed at the passover, whence the origin of the cup for Elijah, and Jesus does indeed reveal Himself at this point, in the breaking of a portion of matzoh that has been hidden from the beginning of the meal. Judas was not present at this end of the meal, having ostensibly left for supplies sometime after Jesus identified him as the betrayer.

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

Direct download: Matthew8a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:44am EDT

Christ calls the Pharisees a "Brood of vipers!"; the lament over Jerusalem; glory departing; The Olivet Discourse and the end of the age; wise and foolish virgins; the talents; separating the sheep from the goats.

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

Direct download: Matthew7b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:36am EDT

In Jerusalem, Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees, who send their disciples and some Herodians to see Jesus. These disciples ask Jesus if it lawful to pay taxes in an attempt to ensnare Jesus, knowing that He will lose popular support if He pulls His punches and favors taxes and that the Herodians will take offense if He does not. Jesus tells them that civil authority has its place, but that the affairs of God take precedence.

The Sadducees later confronted Jesus on the matter of the Resurrection of the Body, which is strongly expounded in the New Testament. They present an implausible case of a woman who is widowed seven times and remains childless. Whose wife would she be in the Resurrection? Jesus tells them that there is no marriage in Heaven and that the Resurrection must be accurate, since God is the God of the living, and those who have died are still described in the present tense in the book of Exodus.

The Pharisees send in another to challenge Jesus: what commandment is greatest? Jesus responds that the first is ''You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,'' and the second is ''You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'' The implication is that you cannot love God unless you love your neighbor. Both of these are part of the Jewish tradition, but after this, the two are very commonly linked.

Jesus then asks the Pharisees whose son the Messiah is. When they answer that he is David's son, Jesus asks them why David calls the Messiah ''Lord'' if a father would not call his son "Lord." The Pharisees leave and do not dare to ask Jesus any more questions.

Jesus then speaks out against those who would claim titles like rabbi, teacher, or father for themselves. Some of these people lay burdens on others but do not act to move their own burdens. These have turned the law into a system of punishment, turned the things of devotion to God into things of ostentation, and turned gifts of God into personal aggrandizement. This is a strong argument against a certain type of clericalism, but it should not be considered the end of clerics. Indeed, there are clear examples of teachers and fathers in the Scriptures. Instead, all the teaching is the teaching of God and should be identified as such.

Jesus then lists several woes for the Pharisees. The Pharisees are locking people out of Heaven, stop others from going into Heaven, and the converts that they attract are twice the children of Hell than the Pharisees. Those who swear oaths liberally will be held liable to God. Those who obey the minutiae of the law or purify the visible but ignore the weightier matters or fail to purify the inner structures are ignoring what is truly important.

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

Direct download: Matthew7a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:21am EDT

When Jesus is preparing to go to Jerusalem, the mother of James and John asks Him to appoint her sons to prestigious positions in the kingdom. Jesus responds that this is not His to give, but only from the Father. He then goes on to say that those who want to be great should aspire to serve others.

Jesus then goes up to Jerusalem, meeting large crowds making a pilgrimage for the Passover. Along the way, He heals two blind men who recognize Him as the Son of David, a messianic title. This recognition becomes even more vivid as He comes into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people rush out to greet Him as a prophet, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah.

After arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus drives out the money changers from the temple, and even continues His healings during this time, which leaves the scribes and priests indignant. Then we see a living parable of Jesus' power of judgment when Jesus curses a fig tree, which withers instantly. When the people ask by what authority Jesus does these things, He asks them what authority John the Baptist baptized. When they refuse to answer Jesus, Jesus refuses to answer them. Jesus continues by giving several parables about who will be chosen in the time to come, and the Pharisees, sensing that Jesus was talking about them, plot a way to entrap Him in what He says.

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

Direct download: Matthew6b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:06am EDT

Jesus is asked again about marriage and divorce. He says that when two are married, they become one flesh, and incapable of separation. This is a difficult teaching and Moses allowed divorce because the people were hard-hearted. Jesus then goes on to say that there are men who are eunuchs from birth, who are made eunuchs by others, and who become eunuchs by devoting themselves to the kingdom. This includes not only priests, but others who are working for the kingdom.

Some children are brought to Jesus, but the disciples speak out against those who brought them. Jesus asks that the children be brought and He blesses them because their devoted parents have brought them, similar to how parents speak for their children in baptism.

After this, a rich man asks what he must do to have eternal life. The man already follows the commandments, but Jesus asks him to give up his possessions and follow Him. The man is not capable of showing such devotion, since he has many possessions and is not willing to give them up.

Jesus then tells another parable, about laborers in a vineyard. Some laborers work the whole day, but others are contracted later; all receive the same pay, causing the ones who worked longer to complain. The master tells them that they all have been paid fairly. God's grace is similar: those who have been faithful all their lives receive the same reward as those who become faithful late in life.

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

Direct download: Matthew6a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:19am EDT

The Pharisees and Sadducees again ask for a sign, shortly after Jesus has performed many miracles, and Jesus refuses, calling them an evil and adulterous generation, and likening the Pharisees and Sadducees to yeast, which was a symbol of contamination.

Jesus names Simon Peter for his profession that Jesus is the Son of God, but then rebukes Peter for failing to realize that Jesus must suffer and die; Jesus also says that any one who wishes to follow Him must deny himself and take up his cross.

Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a mountain, where He is transfigured and shines with an intense light and Elijah the prophet and Moses the lawgiver appear next to Him. A cloud overshadows Jesus and a voice proclaims Jesus as the Son. This gives these three stronger faith in the coming kingdom.

After this, Jesus rejoins the rest of His disciples and tells them that they must become like children. Jesus also tells the people that they must seek out those who are lost, and forgive those who have sinned against them.

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

Direct download: Matthew5b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:58am EDT

John the Baptist has been arrested, and as a gift to Herodias, Herod reluctantly kills John. Many of John's disciples become disciples of Jesus shortly after this.

Jesus then performs the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, whereby thousands of people are fed by a few loaves of bread and some fish, illustrating that Christ has the ability to control matter, which He would do again at the Last Supper. When the people whom He had fed began to agitate to make Jesus king, He asks His disciples to sail from the shore. After Jesus quiets the crowds, He comes to the ship, walking on the water. When Peter sees this, he is cautious and asks Jesus to bid him to come. Jesus tells Peter to come, and Peter begins to walk on the water, but when he gets part of the way out, he becomes frightened and begins to sink. Jesus saves him and the disciples begin to worship Jesus as the Son of God. Only two chapters later, Jesus asks His disciples who they think He is.

Jesus is then confronted by the Pharisees because His disciples don't wash their hands before they eat, but Jesus replies that this precept is a tradition of man, and not a commandment of God. After this, Jesus meets a Canaanite woman who asks that Jesus would cast out a demon from her daughter. His disciples ask Him to send her away, and He challenges her, saying that it is not right to give the children's bread to the dogs, but she persists, and for her persistence, Jesus casts out the demon.

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

Direct download: Matthew5a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:13am EDT

Jesus begins to exorcise demons and some claim that He does not do that by God's power but by the devil's. Jesus notes that it would make no sense for the devil to drive out more of his own demons than the other exorcists are doing, and warns them not to take their declarations too far and blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then gives several parables, including the parables of the soil, the tares, the leaven, and the mustard seed. Taking some of the disciples aside, He describes the parables as a way to deliver knowledge to those who will hear, and then He explains the parables to the disciples.

Jesus then visits Nazareth and meets several of His kinsmen there who cannot believe that someone that they knew is capable of such wisdom and deeds, and for this sort of disbelief, Jesus does not do many deeds of power there.

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

Direct download: Matthew4b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:15am EDT

John the Baptist hears about Jesus' deeds from prison and asks if He is the messiah. John's questions do not belie a cynicism, but rather the actions of one who is seeking Truth and wants to confirm his beliefs. Like John, we should not be afraid to ask questions to make sure that we are not being led astray. Jesus responds that John should look at His works. Jesus then tells people about John the Baptist, who came in the power of Elijah, fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi, who foretold that Elijah would come before the day of the Lord.

Jesus then performs two acts on the Sabbath, about which the Pharisees ask him, and to explain why, Jesus comes as close as possible to declaring Himself the messiah as He can without actually saying it. For this, the Pharisees seek to destroy Jesus.

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

Direct download: Matthew4a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:28am EDT

Matthew continues with a brief account of the healing of a paralytic, who is brought to Jesus by his friends. Jesus, touched by their faith, forgives the man's sins. The Pharisees took issue with this, since only God can forgive sins, but Jesus does not back down, instead claiming the messianic title Son of Man and healing the paralyzed man.

Jesus then calls 12 disciples whom he gives the authority to drive out spirits and heal sickness. These apostles are given instructions about how to perform their mission, and told to expect that many will treat them harshly. The same is true for all who proclaim the Gospel, even to this day.

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

Direct download: Matthew3b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

Shortly after Jesus begins His ministry, John the Baptist is arrested and Jesus begins to ramp up His ministry, proclaiming a message of repentance, and in fact manifesting His power with the very intimate healing of a leper and the healing of a Gentile centurion's servant.

Jesus has some very strong teaching on mission, telling men that they must leave behind all earthly things if they wish to become His disciples. The mission is difficult work, and involves relying on the hospitality of towns to allow Jesus and His disciples to enter and work miracles there. Even after He heals a demoniac, the Gadarenes beg Him to leave the area because His healing disturbs them.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.
Direct download: Matthew3a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:45am EDT

Matthew and the other synoptic gospels emphasize Jesus' mission in Galilee, where most of the Gospel was spread. Jesus sought to keep this ministry moving slowly so that the ministry would not be derailed. In this part of the ministry, He healed people of physical and spiritual illnesses and preached a compassionate message to the poor, including the Beatitudes. This compassion is not simply being nice to each other, but requires action on our part. We must be pure-minded in seeking out God, we must forgive people and not hold grudges, and we must not make a show of our faith.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.
Direct download: Matthew2b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

The Gospel that Jesus preaches is recounted as being preceded by John the Baptist, who came in the mode of Elijah and preaching a baptism of repentance. John was a fairly ascetic man, and his coming as a voice crying in the wilderness heralds the time of the Christ. John's message is quite stark, warning that the God will soon make a harvest of souls.

Jesus comes to John to be baptized, but John objects, declaring that he needs to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus allows Himself to be baptized to ''fulfill all righteousness,'' and in doing so, blesses the waters and transforms them into the waters of the sacrament. At this point, the Spirit of God descends like a dove and a voice declares, ''This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.''

Jesus then leaves for the wilderness to be tempted or tested for forty days and forty nights. Satan tests Jesus, but He beats the devil back on all counts. When John is imprisoned, Jesus begins to proclaim the Gospel and seeking out apostles.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.
Direct download: Matthew2a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41am EDT

According to the Targums, we know that the prophecy that a ''young woman'' or ''virgin'' would bear a son was translated by the Alexandrian scholars as meaning ''virgin,'' and that there was an implication that this was an unusual sign, as high as Heaven or as low as Sheol. A young woman having a son would not be such a significant sign.

The fact that the sign appears as a star to pagans tells us that God wants to give his message to those who are seeking Him out. The fact that the Christ comes from Bethlehem is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah that Bethlehem is 'not the least, for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people.' There is similarly a notion in John that the Christ must come from Bethlehem.

Mary was going into labor and so the Holy Family sought out any shelter they could. Finding a stable in which she could give birth, shortly thereafter they sought out family in Bethlehem and stayed in that house. This is where the Magi find Christ. This event surely must have come after the Presentation in the Temple, since it would have been difficult to journey to Egypt and back in secrecy within the short span of 40 days.

Like Pharaoh of old, Herod sought to kill the entire male population, and the similarities to Pharaoh are very strong.  There is a prophecy about Rachel, who died looking to Bethlehem, and Jeremiah delivered a prophecy about a cry going up from Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children, which is fulfilled by Herod's slaughter of children in that same city. The prophecy that ''He shall be called a Nazarene'' seems to be a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:1, as there is a similarity between the root of the words ''branch'' and ''Nazareth.''

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.
Direct download: Matthew1b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:02am EDT