The Arena
The Arena

Episode 588 · 2 months ago

Jesus our High Priest | Sunday of the Good Samaritan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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My Life in Christ: The Life & Teaching of Saint John of Kronstadt | 9 Lectures

https://patristicnectar.org/bookstore_220620_1122

Patristic Nectar Publications is pleased to present a new 9-part lecture series entitled My Life in Christ: The Life and Teaching of St. John of Kronstadt. This series consists of two parts. The first consists of four thematic lectures given in 2022 by Fr. Josiah to the St. John Chrysostom Catechetical School in Riverside, Ca. The second part of this series is five talks given by His Grace, Bishop Basil of Wichita, at a men’s retreat in Kansas in 2008. St. John of Kronstadt, the Wonder-Worker, served God in Russia during the second half of the 19th century and fell asleep in Christ in 1908. His life, miracles, and teaching have been cherished by believers as God’s love gift to the Church and to the world on the cusp of the 20th century, the most violent century in the history of humanity.  These lectures and discussions reveal the beauty of a life lived supremely in and for Jesus Christ the Lord.

Lecture #1 - The Life of Saint John of Kronstadt

Lecture #2 - On Prayer

Lecture #3 - The Eucharist and Divine Liturgy

Lecture #4 - On the Priesthood

Lecture #5 - The Russia of St. John of Kronstadt

Lecture #6 - Confession and Communion in St. John's Teaching

Lecture #7 - Q&A (Part 1)

Lecture #8 - St. John Counsels and Teachings on Prayer

Lecture #9 - Q&A (Part 2)

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Now available at Patristic Nectar dot org. Patristic Nectar Publications is pleased to present a nine part lecture series entitled My Life in Christ, The Life and Teaching of Saint John of Kronstadt. This series consists of two parts. The first consists of four thematic lectures given in twenty twenty two by Father Josiah Trenham to the Saint John Chrysostom Catechetical School in Riverside, California. The second part of this series are five talks given by His Grace, Bishop Basil of Wichita to a men's retreat in Kansas in two thousand eight. Saint John of Kronstadt, the wonder Worker, served God in Russia during the second half of the nineteenth century and fell asleep in Christ in nineteen o eight. His life, miracles, and teaching have been cherished by believers as God's love gift to the Church into the world on the cusp of the twenty century, the most violent century in the history of humanity. These lectures and discussions reveal the beauty of a life lived supremely in and for Jesus Christ the Lord. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at Patristic Nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lord's Day to all of you, dear ones. Before I begin my homily, I want to just say a word about our veterans. We're blessed here in our parish with noble veterans, and we've had noble veterans from the founders of our parish until now. We celebrated our veterans on Friday, and we're going to pray for them today in the Holy Liturgy. But our oldest veteran is here in the parish, Ben Alcala, and he's old. He's wearing today, uh, five of his seven medals, and I thought I should just tell you what they are. One for National Defense, the Medal for Korean Combat two major Battles, the United Nations Medal fiftieth Anniversary of the Korean War Medal, the Korean Presidential Medal, and the Japanese Occupation Medal. And then the seven which is a real shocker, the Good Conduct Medal. When I saw that on him this morning, I asked him, Ben, how in the world, and he stopped me. He said, I didn't get caught. Glory to God. Glory to God for our parishioners who have served this country and have offered themselves for our safety and for our protection. You've been as our oldest Vet. But other vets here like you can. And Dorothy Andrews, whose memory we commemorate today. This is her four year anniversary of repose. And Dorothy herself was a Vet and the founder of our parish. God keep you all. I've entitled my homily this morning, Jesus are High Priest. I'm preaching on this subject because of the convergence of the Sunday for the Good Summary Briton, which...

...has the whole insufficiency of the Old Testament priesthood in the background. Right, it was the priest and the Levite who saw the man wounded, half dead and just went by him. It was the good Samaritan who came and healed him. And then there's the epistle lesson which you just heard, the marvelous epistle Lesson from the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews from St. Paul, about the fact that we have such a high priest, the true ultimate priest of priests, the true high Priest, Jesus, our Savior in the heavens. And then today is also the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, the greatest of Christian priests, and the one who wrote about the priesthood with such inspiration that his teachings on priesthood have been cherished more than the writings of any father on that subject to this day, his fantastic six books the Priesthood. So I thought, with that sacred convergence, I would say something about especially the Epistle Lesson, and what does it mean for Jesus to be our high priest. If someone stopped you on the way into church today and they said, what does it mean for Jesus to be your high priest? What might you have said? That is not the most common of questions. But I want to help you think through that a little bit, so that you understand how blessed you are. The Epistle Lesson is from the Hebrews. That letter of St. Paul is called Hebrews not because it was written to non Christian Jews, but it was written to Christians who were from a Jewish background mostly, and who are being seriously tempted to revert to Judaism and to abandon their Christian faith. Remember that in the first century and during the Apostolic period, the tension between the portion of the Jewish nation that did not accept Jesus as their messiah, did not accept the Gospel preaching, and those that did that that relationship was exceedingly tense. If you read from the Acts of the Apostles from chapter one to chapter you'll seek consistently through that treatise that the unbelieving Jews were following the Apostles and pressuring and persecuting the early Christian communities on every front. It got worse and worse and worse through the first century, so that we went from being able to pray in the temple and have Paul would whenever he was preaching on his missionary journeys, his first would always be to the synagogue. He would go there and he would announce the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures in Jesus. But that relationship and that possibility of starting first with the Jews grew less and less possible, such that when you come to the last of the books of the New Testament, you come to the apocalypse written by St. John as the last of the Canon of the New Testament. When he thinks of the synagogue, he says, it is a synagogue of Satan. That's how that's how bad the relationship had become. Sadly, so this think of this epistle in that context, Paul is writing to these believers who are from a Jewish back, to confirm them in their faith, to establish their feet in Christian soil, and to remove the temptation to revert to Judaism and to abandon their confession of Christ. Six times six times in this letter he warns them against apostasy. Don't go back. Once you...

...have seen the light, once you have tasted the heavenly food, you can't go back. It's impossible to renew you to repentance if you do, he says. He spent the first two chapters convincing the readers that Jesus is far better, better than all of the angels who mediated the Law of God on Mount Sinai and brought it to the people. In chapters three and four, he says that Jesus is a greater Moses. He's the one Moses looked forward to coming, and is far greater than Moses in chapters five through seven. He sets Jesus forth as the one who is a far greater priest than Aaron. Moses, his brother, who passed down his priesthood by blood and offered animals as sacrificed. Jesus is a far higher priest, a far more glorious a priest, a far more permanent priest, having received his priesthood in the line of Melchizedek and not from Aaron. He continues the theme of the great high priest in chapters eight through ten to show that Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father, where he will remain as our high priest and intercessor forever. That's what the Book of Hebrews is all about. Let me say a word now about what does it mean when we say that Jesus is are high priest. If you had lived at the time of Moses, almost years ago, and you had been a member of the people of God, and you had brought been brought into relationship with the Almighty into covenant, you would have had a priest. Aaron was your priest, Moses was your priest, and from Aaron's sons the priesthood was populated for four years until the time of Christ. Once the Temple was built in Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies was erected, and the ark of the Covenant and God's glory and presence in the Holy of Holies was protected and preserved and honored. The High Priest, together with all of the priests, regulated all of the worship, and you would have been involved with him. Three times of year. You would have come up to see your High Priest. You would want to hear a word from him. It would have been important for you for him to know you, to bless your family, to accept your offering, that you brought your tithe of your crops or your animals. If you sinned, you would know him. You would have brought your sacrificial offering. You would have made a sin offering, and it would have involved the priesthood. This is how the people of God were taught to relate to him. Anyone wanting to know the true God had a priest. There was no priestless spiritual life that Old Testament. Priest as everything in the Old Testament, the Temple itself, the animal sacrifices was a type a foreshadowing a beautiful, divinely invented hint of Jesus to come. Everything in the Old Testament has its conveyance, it's tell us its goal in Jesus himself. Jesus said this to the Pharisees. He said, you search the scriptures because you think in them that by scriptures he meant Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written. You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have everlasting life. But it's these that bear witness of me. He is the fulfillment of the law. He is the fulfillment of the prophets. He is the fulfillment of the sacred histories.

The King of the Old Testament was an image of Christ, the king of kings, the prophets of the Old Testament, who spoke the word of God foreshadowed the great profit of prophets. The one who was God's Word incarnate, and the High Priest was a type of Jesus. He's called in today's epistle high, Holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens, one having no need to offer sacrifice for himself since he himself is sinless. A major difference between Christ, our High Priest, and the priests of the Old Testament, they made sacrifice for the people, but they made sacrifice first for themselves as sinners. Our High Priest sacrifices himself on the cross, and his sacrifice is sufficient for the cleansing of the entire entire world. He offers not the blood of goats and sheep, which cannot take away sin or cleanse the conscience. But he offers his own blood, the blood that he sweat for us and gets semony. The blood that poured forth from his body in the scourging and the crown of thorns when it was thrust on his sacred head. The blood that poured out of his body when the nails were driven through his hands and his feet, and when the soldier thrust his spear into Jesus's life giving side, and blood and water poured forth for the salvation of the world. This is the blood that our Great High Priest brings, life giving, soul, cleansing blood. He's not a son of aaron inheriting Erin's priesthood by earthly succession, but God's only begotten and co eternal son, who has his priesthood not from Erin, but according to the order of Melchizedek an eternal priesthood. He's never replaced as our priest. If you were a faithful member of God's people in the Old Testament and you didn't know your priest, well you're high priest, and you knew the priests as well, you mourned their passing. Maybe you had a relationship with your high priest for years and years and decades. He died, and you'd have to start over again, and you have to convince your children that we're going to start over again because the one that knew us, our advocate, is gone, and we have to start again. It's not so with Christ, Your great High Priest is eternal. He's going nowhere. He stands in the presence of God as yours and mine. His is an eternal priesthood, never to be replaced. He, in the words of Hebrews, ever lives to make intercession for us. Seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high. He is our minister in the true Tent, the true Temple, set up not by men but by God. This is where Christ ministers. This is where he stands, the high reast in the Old Testament. Dear ones, basically functioned in three ways, as the representative of the people, as the one who would offer his blessing, and as the one who would make intercession. These are the three fundamental ministry functions of the Old Testament high priest. His representation was clear because he wore the names of Israel on his shoulders and the stones, and on his breastplate he had the names of the tribes written. Where he went, the people went because he was their representative. When his offering was received, the offering of the people was received. When God offered forgiveness through those offerings, he represented the people in receiving it. St. Paul says this. He says, there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ, Jesus, who gave him...

...self as a ransom for all. He alone can reconcile us. Since he is both God and man. He is as the ultimate high priest, representing us standing before the Father. Now he has one hand on his Father, he has another hand on us, as only he can do. He stands there representing God to us and representing us to God. You know, think this way the humility that Jesus showed to take humanity to himself in order in the flesh to beat down our enemies, to free us from the devils, and to conquer sin and death and satan. When he rose from the dead, he didn't lay aside what was so humbling for the son of God to be a human being. Is it dissension? None of us will ever get, will stand in all of it forever. You might think that when he had done his work, so to speak, when he had accomplished his salvation, when he rose, that he might have laid aside that which was so humbly his human flesh. But he didn't. He has united himself to us forever, and he's there as our human representative, as our new atom, representing us like the old and the old covenant the High Priest did at that time. He has your name and my name in his heart, there standing in the presence of God and establishing us in that true relationship. His attachment to us is eternal. He lives now to benefit you. You know, I'll bet that if I sat down with you, especially you who are older, who have accomplished most of what you have accomplished in life, most of what you have going to accomplish, and I asked if you could explain how you did it, you would be able to answer with two or three names of people who chose to advocate for you. People who decided that they loved you, that they cared about you, and they were going to put their neck on the line. They were going to put their energy behind helping you accomplish what you wanted to do. I suspect that's the case in many different areas of life. For every single one of you who has any decades under your belt. Imagine some of you have really excelled and you can really point to someone. Can you imagine you're You're a struggling businessman, you have a a young company, and somehow Jeff Bezos gets your phone number and he decides that he likes you, and he wants to do something for you that is going to be an advocacy for your company like no other. You're inventing some sort of digital platform that can be used by Twitter, and all of a sudden, you're at out to lunch and Elon Musk sits next next to you, and he decides that he actually likes you and he's going to advocate for you. Think of how much you would benefit from that night and day, night and day. None of that compares even slightly with having the Lord Jesus Christ be your advocate. Christ stands before his Father for your sake, to do you good as your high priest. This is how blessed you are.

Old Testament priests also stood with the people, and they lifted their hands up, and they blessed them. It's described in the ninth chapter of Leviticus, Aaron and Moses both doing this, gathering the people, lifting their hands over them, and bringing God's blessing to them. The content of the blessing is given to us in numbers chapter six. This is the limitical blessing. It's very familiar to me, ironically, because Presbyterian ministers still give the exact blessing, which is kind of sad actually, because it's an Old Testament blessing and there's a much greater one. But this is how it goes. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Is that not magnificent? This is the vitical blessing. This is what priests do. Priests are commissioned in God's name to bless the people. All of those Old Testament blessings were a small type of the peace that Jesus secured and gives to his disciples. He stands now at the right hand of the Father with his blessing hand extended, but not just focused on one. It's as though he has five six million hands, and they move NonStop, and he's constantly blessing us. You see it. The Lord wants you to know one thing. His orientation to you, as his priest, as as your high priest at the right hand of the Father, is for your blessing. If the Old Testament priests lifted up their hands and gave such wonderful things to the people, how much more christ for you. He scatters millions of blessings every day upon his people. He stands in at orientation, so that you know you have nothing to fear. Everything that comes to your life has to worm its way through those fingers before it comes into your life. And lastly, the priests of the Old Testament, they didn't just represent and blessed. They interceded. They prayed for those who were who had sinned. They reconciled people to God and people to one another. And that is exactly what our Savior does. Remember what he said to Peter. It's in Looks Gospel. Peter was going to be under immense Satanic attack. Immense he faced it. Of course, when Jesus was arrested and he collapsed. He horribly lapsed in his triple denial of Christ. Jesus had told him, Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat. How would you like to receive that as a morning message? Oh look, honey, father, Josiah's calling me. Hello, Father, what you just got a message from Jesus that today Satan is going to sift me like wheat. Not exactly a wonderful message. What could you do? What did Jesus say to him? He said, Peter, don't worry. I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail. Jesus our intercessor, are high priestly intercessor. St. John writes in his First Epistle, Chapter two, verse one, if anyone since we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the Righteous and in the Epistle...

...of Hebrews, just two verses from where our epistle started today, two verses previous, the text says he lives forever to make intercessions for us. He who is both our priest and our intercessor, both the sacrifice that is offered and the one who offers it, he himself, his cross, his loving sacrifice is sufficient for everything we need, to wash away every sin and to reconcile us to God. I want you to go home today with this in your mind. There's one way to God. There's one way through Jesus. No one draws near to God without his high priest, Jesus Christ. Don't think you're near God. You and God have a great relationship unless your confidence is being near God because of Jesus himself. Jesus puts it this way. No one comes to the Father except through me. No one know that give thanks there ones that you have such a great high priest who lives for you, who stands for you every day. Be deeply aware of Jesus being your advocate. Come to God the Father through him, and be certain that there's one thing in your life that you know very very little about, and that maybe you'll learn tons about in the future in paradise. And here's the one thing. What is that one thing that we all we who love God no very very little about, but maybe in the future are going to know a lot more about that. One thing I think is what we owe to our Savior's prayers for us. I suspect the answer to that is so large. Whether he'll tell us, whether we can ask him and find out. But I think we know very little of what we owe him and what God has given us because of the intercessions of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest glories in his name. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles, or if you would like more information on Patristic Nectar Publications, please visit our website at www dot Patristic Nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot Patristic Nectar dot org.

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