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Archive for October 4th, 2017

Today’s Daily Lectionary New Testament reading is St. Matthew 8: 1-17 which includes the narrative of the healing of the centurion’s servant.  The Lord exclaims that he had never seen such faith in all of Israel.  St. John Chrysostom has this faithful commentary on this reading:

“…though (the centurion) has such great faith, he still accounted himself to be unworthy.  Christ, however, signifying that the centurion was worthy to have Him enter into his house, did much greater things, marveling at him and acclaiming him and given him more than he had asked.  For he came indeed seeking for his servant bodily healing, but went away, having received a kingdom…and not by this alone did He honor him, but also by indicating upon whose casting out he is brought in.  For now from this time forth, Christ proceeds to make known that salvation is by faith, not by works of the Law.”

St. John Chrysostom’s last sentence is one of many testimonies that the church fathers also taught salvation by faith, but not out of their reasoning apart from Scripture alone. In this 500th anniversary of the Reformation this is a salutary reminder that some editions in 1580 of the Book of Concord included a catalogue of testimonies  listing quotes from the Church Fathers pertaining to the doctrine of justification.

The New Testament reading for today is clear that a thoroughgoing uncircumcised Gentile, a Roman Centurion, was not part of God’s covenant with Israel and yet, by faith in Christ, on account of Christ alone, the centurion’s servant is healed and the centurion counted himself unworthy. The kingdom is never earned, it is always given.

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