Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal glory; through Jesus Christ your
Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
FIRST READING: Acts 17:1-15
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews[a] were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Paul and Silas in Berea
10 The brothers[b] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.
1 Be joyful in God, all you lands; *
sing praises to the honor of his Name; make his praise to be glorious.
2 Say to God, “How wonderful are your works; * through the greatness of your power shall your enemies cower before you.
3 For all the world shall worship you, *
sing to you, and praise your Name.”
4 O come and see the works of God, *
how wonderful he is in his doing toward all people.
5 He turned the sea into dry land, so that they went through the water on foot; *
therefore in him let us rejoice.
6 He rules with his power for ever; his eyes keep watch over the nations; *
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
7 Bless our God, you peoples, *
and make the voice of his praise to be heard,
8 Who holds our soul in life, *
and does not allow our feet to slip.
9 For you, O God, have proved us; *
you have tried us, as silver is tried.
10 You brought us into the snare *
and laid trouble upon our backs.
11 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; *
but you brought us out into a place of plenty.
1 Peter 2:1-12
A Living Stone and a Holy People
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”[a]
“A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c]5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e]anything in my name, I will do it.
NOTES from the Orthodox Study Bible
17:1 The largest and most important city in Macedonia, Thessalonica was very cosmopolitan, possessing an excellent harbor and superior commerce. With the flow of goods, communication, and people to and from the city, word of what was happening there spread quickly, and the church there became highly influential (1Th 1:8).
17:2-3 Reasoned (Gr. dialegomai) does not mean engaging in rational debate, for the proclamation of the gospel is not about winning intellectual arguments. Rather, this term indicates speaking or conversing about truths, ideas, or things that have been witnessed. The English word “dialogue” comes from the same root. The Scriptures are the OT writings (see notes at 8:35; 13:17–41).
17:4 Devout as used here is a synonym of “God-fearing.” It was used to designate a Gentile who followed the precepts of the Jewish religion, but had not yet become a proselyte or full convert (see 10:2).
17:7 The trumped-up charge that Christians claimed another king—Jesus is reminiscent of the charges brought against Jesus of being a political king. Instead, Paul was proclaiming the Kingdom of God, with Jesus as King (see 14:22; 19:28; 20:5).
17:9 Security: A deposit of money held as a bond to encourage Jason to uphold public peace in the future.
17:13 Though unwilling to search the Scriptures to see if Paul's message is true, as the Jews in Berea did (v. 11), the Jews from Thessalonicawere willing to travel the 60 miles to Berea to stir up the crowds against Paul.
17:14 Brethren: The new Christians.
66:1 prophesies the Resurrection of Christ (the End, a psalm of resurrection, v. 1). All the earth is invited to worship the risen Christ (vv. 1–4). All are invited to come and see the works of God (v. 5), which He wrought in abolishing death and rising again from the dead, as typified by the Exodus in Israel's history (v. 6). And His Resurrection demonstrates that He will rule in His power forever (v. 7) over His Church, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Him (vv. 7–20).
1 PETER 2:1-12
2:1 The duty, the necessity, for Christians to be holy in their conduct is the issue pursued in this passage. The apostle Paul has written that new (indeed, all!) Christians are to put off the old manner of life, corrupted by evil and deception (Eph 4:22). Similarly, those addressed here are to turn from the same.
2:2-3 The pure milk of the word is apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42), the basic teaching of the Church—both written (1:10–12) and spoken (1:25). These lead us to the meat of the word (1Co 3:2), the sacraments of the Church, and continual growth in the Christian life. We have tasted that the Lord is gracious and should long for this spiritual nourishment.
2:4-10 Peter likens the growth of the Church to the OT temple with its attending priesthood and its sacrifice and worship, Christ Himself being the fulfillment of this imagery. Thus, in Christ we become living stones, a spiritual house, a royal priesthood (v. 5; see Ex 19:5, 6), the people of God who have obtained mercy (v. 10; see Eph 2:19–22; 1Co 3:16, 17; 2Co 6:16). This is salvation in all its fullness.
2:5 In the true temple, one sacrifice is offered, the unrepeatable sacrifice of Christ. But in Him, in baptism, we also are sacrificed, “a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1) acceptable to God. Our whole life is to be lived in this baptism as an offering to Christ our life. This is the spiritual offering of the Church in the Eucharist, the offering by which she lives.
2:5 In the true temple, one sacrifice is offered, the unrepeatable sacrifice of Christ. But in Him, in baptism, we also are sacrificed, “a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1) acceptable to God. Our whole life is to be lived in this baptism as an offering to Christ our life. This is the spiritualoffering of the Church in the Eucharist, the offering by which she lives.
2:11 To this point Peter has been addressing the whole of the Church, describing the benefits and challenges of salvation. Now he speaks to various groups of Christians—citizens, servants, wives, husbands, pastors—exhorting all to forsake sinful passions and to live as true sojourners and pilgrims in the world.
14:2 Many mansions is a word-picture of an abundance of living accommodations around a central courtyard. Mansions also speaks of the multitude of blessings that await those who enter the Kingdom of God.
14:6 The way, the truth, and the life: The way we reach the Father is forever established in the Person and work of the Son. The Son is the truth because He is the unique revelation of the Father. Christ is the life who became Man so we might have life, and as He is our life, not even death can hinder us from coming to Him. Only in Christ can one come to know the Father, for only in Christ is the way of all truth and all life found.
14:9 He who has seen Me has seen the Father: Our response to Christ determines our relationship with the Father. If we reject Christ then we will never find the Father; but if we believe in Christ and follow Him, then we ourselves will become “children of God,” living eternally in the love of the Father (1:12).
14:10 While human beings are made in God's image (Gn 1:26), the Incarnate Son is Himself the exact image of the Father (Col 1:15). Christ did not say, “I am the Father,” for He is not. Rather, He declares that He and the Father are one in essence and undivided in nature while being distinct Persons in the Godhead.
14:12 The greater works indicate that Christ's working through mere humans after Pentecost is greater than His performing signs and wonders directly. These works, attested to in the Book of Acts, include spreading the gospel throughout the world, miraculous healings, and raising the dead.
14:13-14 To pray in Christ's name does not simply mean to attach the phrase “in Jesus' name we pray” to the end of prayers. Rather, to pray in His name means to pray according to His will. Just as an emissary of a king can only be said to be speaking in the king's name if he says what the king would want him to say, so also we can only be said to be praying in the name of Christ when we pray according to what He wants. The purpose here is not to get God to do our will, but for us to learn to pray properly, according to God's will (Mt 6:10).
John Maxwell’s 21 Laws of Leadership
God’s Twofold Call
God’s call is twofold and is confirmed in two ways. There is a general calling He offers to everyone; anyone who responds to Him is considered the “called” (Is. 6:8). But a second call is more specific. This call is given to individuals who are meant to serve in a particular role (Acts 9:3–6). This calling is confirmed both by an inward witness of the heart and an outward recognition by the body of Christ.
What is your calling? How is your call recognized by others?
The Law of Navigation: Jesus Laid a Plan for the Future
Jesus practiced the Law of Navigation by looking to the future. He reminded His men that He would prepare a place for them (John 14:1–4) and that He was preparing them for a place (14:16–29). He laid plans for the Holy Spirit to finish the work He had begun.
The Law of Empowerment: Jesus Had a Great IDEA to Equip Others
Jesus told His men that they would do greater works than He had done. How would this be possible?
First, He would send the Holy Spirit to live in each of them. Second, He had already given so much of Himself to equip them. The Law of Empowerment tells us that only secure leaders give their power to others. God prepared the disciples to reproduce their leadership in the lives of others. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped by the Lord Jesus. Talk about being ready to change the world!
How did Jesus mentor and reproduce His leadership in His disciples? Consider Jesus’ IDEA of how to reproduce leadership in someone else:
He verbally taught them. He constantly used daily routines to instruct them in leadership.
He modeled truth and let His men observe His life. He provided show-and-tell.
He let the disciples participate and apply the truths themselves. They got to practice.
He debriefed their shared experience. He assessed their growth and gave them direction.