Church Father Quote of the Day

13. For this cause too the angel came bringing His name from Heaven, hereby again intimating that this is a wondrous birth: it being God Himself who sends the name from above by the angel to Joseph. For neither was this without an object, but a treasure of ten thousand blessings. Wherefore the angel also interprets it, and suggests good hopes, in this way again leading him to belief. For to these things we are wont to be more inclined, and therefore are also fonder of believing them.

So having established his faith by all, by the past things, by the future, by the present, by the honor given to himself, he brings in the prophet also in good time, to give his suffrage in support of all these. But before introducing him, he proclaims beforehand the good things which were to befall the world through Him. And what are these? Sins removed and done away. For He shall save His people from their sins.

Here again the thing is signified to be beyond all expectation. For not from visible wars, neither from barbarians, but what was far greater than these, from sins, he declares the glad tidings of deliverance; a work which had never been possible to any one before.

But wherefore, one may ask, did he say, His people, and not add the Gentiles also? That he might not startle the hearer yet a while. For to him that listens with understanding he darkly signified the Gentiles too. For His people are not the Jews only, but also all that draw near and receive the knowledge that is from Him.

And mark how he has by the way discovered to us also His dignity, by calling the Jewish nation His people. For this is the word of one implying nought else, but that He who is born is God’s child, and that the King of those on high is the subject of his discourse. As neither does forgiving sins belong to any other power, but only to that single essence.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 4; Matthew 1:17

Sasse “Apostles, Prophets, Teachers: Concerning the Early History of the Office of the Holy Ministry” (1942)

If, however, the origin of the office of teacher is to be understood in tis way, then it immediately becomes clear what the basic task of a teacher was: the interpretation of the Holy Scripture. The entire New Testament bears witness to the fact that the interpretation of the Septuagint, the brining of scriptural proof for the Messiahship of Jesus (in the manner in which the Scripture-expert Paul carried it on after his conversion, at first in the synagogues of Damascus––Acts 9:20, 22) was one of the most important tasks of the growing church. For this task the office of Spirit-filled teachers was needed. For the church knew from the beginning that only the Holy Ghost can teach the correct understanding of the Scripture. But the interpretation of the Septuagint was not only a necessity for theological apologists and for missionary instructions, but belongs also in the Service. In congregations of Gentile-Christians, which consisted in part of people who had up to that time visited the synagogues as “God-fearing men,” thus interpretation took the place of the synagogual interpretation of Scripture. If the early Christian teachers are the successors of the teachers of the Hellenistic synagogues––indeed if, like Paul, they to an an extent received their education in this synagogue and had served in this synagogue, then we understand the fact that in the ancient Christian writings that go back to such teachers the connection with Jewish interpretation of the Scripture is extraordinarily great. No matter how far the example of the synagogue extended its effect, in any case it is the explanation of the Scripture, the interpretation of the written Word of God which was the unique, essential task of this office.
In so far then as the interpretation of Scripture coincides with oral preaching, the function of the prophet and of teacher coincide; and in so far both are not to be separated from the apostolic proclamation of Christ, they are connected with the office of an apostle. Thus all three offices are to be understood in their individuality and in their indissoluble intertwinedness. All three are “service of the Word” (Dienst am Wort); all three want to “speak the Word of God,” But each of the three has to do with a specific form of the divine Word: with the Word-Made-Flesh, with the Word which today speaks through human mouths, with the written Word. An apostle bears witness to the Incarnation of the Word. By the mouth of a prophet God speaks today. A teacher interprets the written Word of the Bible. In so far, however, as the three forms of the Word of God are forms of the one Word, the three offices of apostle, prophet, and teacher are one. They are the roots from which the one office of the church, the office of the preaching of the Gospel, has grown.

Scripture and the Church: Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse
edited by Jeffrey J. Kloha and Ronald R. Feuerhahn
p. 27-28

Orthodox Lutheran Father Quote of the Day

The Epistle to the Hebrews

§ 278. Therefore we show our agreement with this latter position and claim that the Epistle to the Hebrews is (1) a letter of Paul himself; (2) canonical, but it is of the second rank because some people in the Church once had doubts about it; (3) written in Greek.

Johann Gerhard
On the Nature of Theology and on Scripture
p 246

Church Father Quote of the Day

For nothing is so acceptable to God as to number one’s self with the last. This is a first principle of all practical wisdom. For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart, will not be vainglorious, will not be wrathful, will not envy his neighbor, will not harbor any other passion. For neither when a hand is bruised, though we strive ten thousand times, shall we be able to lift it up on high. If therefore we were thus to bruise our heart likewise, though it were stirred by ten thousand swelling passions, it could not be lifted up, no, not ever so little. For if a man, by mourning for things pertaining to this life, drives out all the diseases of his soul, much more will he, who mourns for sins, enjoy the blessing of self-restraint.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 3; Matthew 1:1

Modern Lutheran Quote of the Day

Sasse: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church (1939)

… The attempts to understand the Words of Institution as parabolic language and the institution of the Sacrament as a parable in action like the symbolic actions of the prophets mentioned in the Bible, have, however, always led to contradictory solutions. Unless one wishes to imagine that Jesus here wanted to speak darkly in riddles––and no one can impute to that him, especially not in that hour––then the literal understanding is the only remaining alternative. But then also everything is clear. He, the eternal Son of God, who for us took on flesh and blood, the compassionate High Priest, who is at the same time the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, sanctifies himself (Jn 17:19) as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He celebrates the passover with his disciples and is himself the Passover Lamb. Jesus Christ himself understood his death in this way. He, who is “a priest forever” (Heb 7:17) and at the same time “the lamb, slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8) offers himself up as the one, eternal, all-sufficient sacrifice. And even as Israel at its redemption from the bondage in Egypt at the passover-lamb and ever against it in remembrance of God’s wondrous deed, so the twelve at the Passover of the New Testament as the representatives of the New Israel (Lk 22:30) and the church repeats this celebration without ceasing “in remembrance of me.” As Israel ate the passover Lamb, so the disciples and so the church eat the Body of him who was crucified. For the Passover Lamb must be eaten. Whoever is offended by that must also be offended by the sacrificial death of Christ. Just as it is a wondrous truth incomprehensible to our reason that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” ( Pt 1:19f.),, even so it was an incomprehensible miracle that we in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper receive the true Body and the true Blood of the Son of God who was offered for us, the crucified body which is at the same time the glorified body. That is the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, a teaching which presupposes that redemption––like creation––has to do with the whole person, body and soul, that the Savior had to take on a true human nature and complete the work of redemption by the sacrifice of his Body and Blood and that the redeemed belong to him body and soul and as members of the church, “baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13) and partakers of the one consecrated bread and consecrated cup, which are the communion of Christ’s Body and Blood (1 Cor 10:16f). are members of his body.

Scripture and the Church: Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse
edited by Jeffrey J. Kloha and Ronald R. Feuerhahn
p. 10-11

Orthodox Lutheran Father Quote of the Day

1 Peter

He had two purposes especially in this Epistle: (1) to bear witness to the converted Jews that the teaching regarding the grace of God through Christ, which they had embraced by faith and in the confession of which they were standing fast, is the one, indisputable way of salvation, heavenly truth, and immovable doctrine. (2) To exhort them both to persevere steadfastly in this faith and to live a life worthy of that confession and pleasing to God.

Johann Gerhard
On the Nature of Theology and on Scripture
p 237