Archive for January 27th, 2017


Bio: Given the added name of Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed” in Greek, Saint John was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church. Born in Antioch around the year 347, John was instructed in the Christian faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities. His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his home town. In 398, John Chrysostom was made Patriarch of Constantinople. His determination to reform the church, court, and city there brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: “Glory be to God for all things. Amen.”


“He gave Himself a ransom,” he said, how then was He delivered up by the Father? Because it was of His goodness. And what does “ransom” mean? God was about to punish them, but He did not do it. They were about to perish, but in their stead He gave His own Son and sent us as heralds to proclaim the cross. These things are sufficient to attract all and to demonstrate the love of Christ. So truly, so inexpressibly great are the benefits that God has bestowed upon us. He sacrificed Himself for His enemies, who hated and rejected Him. What no one would do for friends, for brothers, for children, that the Lord has done for His servants; a Lord not Himself such a one as His servants, but God for men, for men not deserving. For had they been deserving, had they done His pleasure, it would have been less wonderful. But that He died for such ungrateful, such obstinate creatures, this it is which strikes every mind with amazement. For what men would not do for their fellow-men, that has God done for us!

—John Chrysostom

(Source for the above: The Treasury of Daily Prayer)

And since he did everything in order to teach us, and suffered everything for the same reason, so here also He willed to be led by the Spirit into the desert, to meet the devil in combat, and so that no one should be shocked if, after receiving baptism, he suffers even severer temptations: as though something strange had happened; but that he may learn to stand firm and endure with fortitude what happens according to the ordinary rule of our life.This is the reason you received arms; not to stand at ease, but to fight  (Sermon by St. John Chrysostom, on the Temptation narrative in Matthew 4: 1ff)

In Lord of the Rings, when Frodo was in the depths of despair about the burden of the ring and the struggle they were engaged, wondering what are we doing here…just plain what are we doing.  His friend Sam-wise Gamgee said to his dear friend that there is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo and it’s worth fighting for.  St. John Chrysostom thought so.  As it is written in the Bible, “the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy).  St. John Chrysostom did so fight.  He fought not with a sword but the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (see Ephesians 6).  The good is Christ Himself, His blood and righteousness for us all.  The good is the Father of Christ and all of the Lord’s creation including you to set you free.  The good is the Lord, the Holy Spirit, ever teaching us the faith being sanctified by His grace. The good is His Church in the world, not of the world, but for the world and it’s salvation. 

St. John Chrysostom nailed it:  Jesus’ temptations are what is expected in bringing forth the truth of God’s Word.  Like Jonah, we want to run away from the Lord’s call.  Like Peter, we  deny the Lord.  Like Thomas, we doubt His eternal life, His resurrection.  When we go to see the doctor, we are a patient and are to have patience, but when it comes to sin and evil we must become impatient in our No to the devil and all his empty promises.  It always seems like the devil is winning but that is his strategy:  he lies to fool us.  Christ Jesus is no fool.  Like all the saints of yore, the only way is to stand fast in His Word and be steadfast,

“… with all true Christians running, our heav’nly race and shunning, the devil’s wiles and cunning, Amen, Amen! This be done, so sing we, ‘Alleluia!'” (“Triune God, Be Thou Our Stay”, LSB #505;  text:  Martin Luther). 

Prayer of the Day:

O God, You gave to your servant John Chrysostom grace to proclaim the Gospel with eloquence and power. As bishop of the great congregations of Antioch and Constantinople, John fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name. Mercifully grant to your church bishops and pastors who are like John in preaching and fidelity in their ministry of the Word to your people, and grant that we all be partakers of the divine nature through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You adn the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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“… Luther rediscovered Biblical truths concerning the Church, which had been forgotten. The history of  the Church is not simply the marching on of God’s people from  victory to victory. It is true, “the standard of the King proceeds.” But “Forth shines the mystery of the Cross.” The Cross is most certainly the  sign of victory, but the victory of Christ crucified. For He is always the Crucified, “Christos estauromenos,”  (“having been crucified” is the closest in English)as Paul calls Him (I Cor. 1:23 comp. 2 :2: Gal. 3:1). The perfect tense indicating an event which is lasting, and not only “staurotheis” (aorist/past tense, “crucified”) as He is called when the uniqueness of the historic event is emphasized, as in the Nicene Creed. Christ has remained the Crucified even as He who rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. Even in the Sacrament He gives us His  body, crucified and glorified simultaneously, and the blood shed on the cross. Christ’s triumph is always the triumph of the Crucified, hidden for human eyes under the cross and so are the victories of His Church. Already in the Fourth century serious Christians wondered whether Constantine’s victory in the battle at the Milvian Bridge in Rome had really been the triumph of Christ. When on the eve of St. Bartholomew, 1572, thousands of Protestants were killed in France, the Pope after a shock celebrated this event with a solemn Te Deum as a victory for the church. No one doubts today that he was mistaken. We all know that Christ triumphs also in the death of His saints. Peter and Paul conquered Rome not by converting Nero or making a concordat with him, but by dying there.” (Rev. Prof. Hermann Sasse, from a 1967 article; emphasis my own, Pr. Schroeder)

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