Explanation of Scripture read by Orthodox Christians on the 10th Monday after Pentecost 1 Corintians 15:12-19 Matthew 21:18-22

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The Sadduces.

The Gentiles also had problems with this idea: as the following accounts in Acts show:

"When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." (Acts 17:32)

"Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? " (Acts 26:28)


St Paul answers this question tersely almost immediatley:

"{17} And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."

Christ came to give us eternal life. He made human flesh ABLE to obtain eternal life. If there was no resurrection, and Christ therefore did not rise from the dead, we would not be set free from the domination of the devil, and would remain in the grave.

"For not His having become incarnate, but His having died, took away death; since while He had flesh, the tyranny of death still had dominion." (St John Chrysostom)


If Christ had not risen, our faith would be in vain (we would be yet in our sins unforgiven), those that die in Christ would perish, and we would be truly miserable in we could have hope in Christ only in this life.


Jesus was returning into Jerusalem, the day after His triumphant entry (which we remember as "Palm Sunday". On that day, after entering the city on the foal of an ass, and being worshipped by the multitudes, He went into the temple, and overturned the moneychangers and sellers:

"12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. " (Matthew 21:12-13)

This happened the beginning of the week of His passion, and death and resurrection.


The fig tree represents the Jews, or rather, those who would remain obdurate in their religion, and reject the Messiah.

"He withers the tree, then, in order to chasten men. The disciples marvel, and with good reason. For the fig tree contains a great amount of sap, and so the fact that it withered immediately serves all the more to indicate the miracle. The fig tree means the synagogue of the Jews, which has only leaves, that is, the visible letter of the law, but not the fruit of the Spirit. But also every man who gives himself over to the sweetness of the present life is likened to a fig tree, who has no spiritual fruit to give to Jesus who is hungry for such fruit, but only leaves, that is, temporal appearances which fall away and are gone. This man, then, hears himself cursed. For Christ says, Go, ye accursed, into the fire. But he is also dried up; for as he roasts in the flame, his tongue is parched and withered like that of the rich man of the parable, who in his life had ignored Lazarus." Blessed Theophylact, Commentary on Matthew)


"6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. " (Luke 13:6-9)


And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)


Blessed Augustine refers to the mountain as our "mountain of pride". Blessed Theophylact, in his commentary on a like passage in St Mark's gospel says: "The mountain is also the proud mind, high and rugged."


Because there were Christian in Corinth that believed that Christ did not rise from the dead.


Our whole Christian faith is based upon and built on His Resurrection, and through His Resurrection we are made able to rise and be forgiven of our sins.


If Christ had not risen, our faith would be in vain, we would be yet in our sins unforgiven), those that die in Christ would perish, and we would be truly miserable in we could have hope in Christ only in this life.


Move mountains.


Our stony heart.

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