Chrysystom on the Calling of James and John

And see how he does with exact care intimate unto us their poverty also: in that He found them sewing up their nets. So exceeding great was their poverty, that they were mending what was worn out, not being able to buy others. And this too was for the time no small proof of virtue, their beating poverty with ease, their supporting themselves by honest labor, their being bound one to another by the power of love, their having their father with them, and attending upon them.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 14; Matthew 4:12

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John Chrysostom on Temptation

Yea, for therefore you took up arms, not to be idle, but to fight. For this cause neither does God hinder the temptations as they come on, first to teach you that you have become much stronger; next, that you may continue modest neither be exalted even by the greatness of your gifts, the temptations having power to repress you; moreover, in order that that wicked demon, who is for a while doubtful about your desertion of him, by the touchstone of temptations may be well assured that you have utterly forsaken and fallen from him; fourthly, that you may in this way be made stronger, and better tempered than any steel; fifthly, that you may obtain a clear demonstration of the treasures entrusted to you.

For the devil would not have assailed you, unless he had seen you brought to greater honor. Hence, for example, from the beginning, he attacked Adam, because he saw him in the enjoyment of great dignity. For this reason he arrayed himself against Job, because he saw him crowned and proclaimed by the God of all.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 13; Matthew 4:1

John Chrysystom on why the Holy Spirit descended as a dove at Jesus’ baptism

But why in the fashion of a dove? Gentle is that creature, and pure. Forasmuch then as the Spirit too is a Spirit of meekness, He therefore appears in this sort. And besides, He is reminding us of an ancient history. For so, when once a common shipwreck had overtaken the whole world, and our race was in danger of perishing, this creature appeared, and indicated the deliverance from the tempest, and bearing an olive branch, Genesis viii published the good tidings of the common calm of the whole world; all which was a type of the things to come. For in fact the condition of men was then much worse, and they deserved a much sorer punishment. To prevent your despairing, therefore, He reminds you of that history. Because then also, when things were desperate, there was a sort of deliverance and reformation; but then by punishment, now, on the contrary, by grace and an unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 Therefore the dove also appears, not bearing an olive branch, but pointing out to us our Deliverer from all evils, and suggesting the gracious hopes. For not from out of an ark does she lead one man only, but the whole world she leads up into heaven at her appearing, and instead of a branch of peace from an olive, she conveys the adoption to all the world’s offspring in common.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 12; Matthew 3:13

John Chrysostom on The Baptists rebuke of the Pharisees

But if one accurately mark his words, he has also tempered his rebuke with commendation. For he spoke these things, as marveling at them, that they had become able, however late, to do what seemed almost an impossibility for them. His rebuke, you see, is rather that of one bringing them over, and working upon them to arouse themselves. For in that he appears amazed, he implies both their former wickedness to be great, and their conversion marvellous and beyond expectation. Thus, what has come to pass, says he, that being children of those men, and brought up so badly, they have repented? Whence has come so great a change? Who has softened down the harshness of their spirit? Who corrected that which was incurable?

And see how straightway from the beginning he alarmed them, by laying first, for a foundation, his words concerning hell. For he spoke not of the usual topics: Who has warned you to flee from wars, from the inroads of the barbarians, from captivities, from famines, from pestilences? but concerning another sort of punishment, never before made manifest to them, he was striking the first preparatory note, saying thus, Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

And full well did he likewise call them, generation of vipers. For that animal too is said to destroy the mother that is in travail with her, and eating through her belly, thus to come forth unto light; which kind of thing these men also did being murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers, 1 Timothy 1:9 and destroying their instructors with their own hands.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 11; Matthew 3:7

John Chrysostom on why Jesus was 30 when baptized by John.

But why was it after thirty years, it may be said, that Jesus came unto His baptism? After this baptism He was thenceforth to do away with the law: wherefore even until this age, which admits of all sins, He continues fulfilling it all; that no one might say, that because He Himself could not fulfill it, He did it away. For neither do all passions assail us at all times; but while in the first age of life there is much thoughtlessness and timidity, in that which comes after it, pleasure is more vehement, and after this again the desire of wealth. For this cause he awaits the fullness of His adult age, and throughout it all fulfills the law, and so comes to His baptism, adding it as something which follows upon the complete keeping of all the other commandments.

To prove that this was to Him the last good work of those enjoined by the law, hear His own words: For thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:15 Now what He says is like this: We have performed all the duties of the law, we have not transgressed so much as one commandment. Since therefore this only remains, this too must be added, and so shall we fulfill all righteousness. For He here calls by the name of righteousness the full performance of all the commandments.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 10; Matthew 3:1-2

Excerpt Chrysostom Matthew Homily 9

Let us not therefore pride ourselves either on high birth, or on wealth, but rather despise them who are so minded: neither let us be dejected at poverty. But let us seek that wealth, which consists in good works; let us flee that poverty, which causes men to be in wickedness, by reason of which also that rich man was poor; Luke 16:24 wherefore he had not at his command so much as a drop of water, and that, although he made much entreaty. Whereas, who can be so poor among us, as to want water enough even for comfort? There is none such. For even they that are pining with extreme hunger, may have the comfort of a drop of water; and not of a drop only, but of refreshment too far more abundant. Not so that rich man, but he was poor even to this degree: and what was yet more grievous, he could not so much as soothe his poverty from any source. Why then do we gape after riches, since they bring us not into Heaven?

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 9; Matthew 2:16

Church Father Quote of the Day

5. And if the Jews should raise a question touching the prophecy, and say, that the words, Out of Egypt have I called my Son, were uttered concerning themselves; we would tell them, This is a law of prophecy, that in many cases much that is spoken of one set of persons is fulfilled in another; of which kind is that which is said touching Simeon and Levi, I will divide them, says He, in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Genesis 49:7 And yet not in themselves did this come to pass, but in their descendants; and Noah’s saying again about Canaan, came to pass in the Gibeonites, Canaan’s descendants. And that concerning Jacob one may see to have so come to pass; for those blessings which say, Be lord over your brother, and let your father’s sons worship you, Genesis 27:19 had no accomplishment in himself (how could they, he being in fear and trembling, and worshipping his brother over and over again? Genesis 33:3), but in his offspring they had. The very same may be said in this case also. For which may be called the truer son of God, he that worships a calf, and is joined to Baalpeor and sacrifices his sons to devils? Or He that is a Son by nature, and honors Him that begot Him? So that, except this man had come, the prophecy would not have received, its due fulfillment. It is worth observing, too, that the evangelist intimates the same by the phrase, that it might be fulfilled; implying that it would not have been fulfilled, unless He had come.

And this makes the Virgin also in no common degree glorious and distinguished; that the very thing which was the whole people’s special endowment in the way of praise, she also might thenceforth have for her own. I mean, that whereas they were proud of their coming up from Egypt, and used to boast of it (which indeed the prophet also was hinting at, when he said, Have I not brought up the strangers from Cappadocia, and the Assyrians from the pit ), He makes this pre-eminence belong to the Virgin likewise.

Rather, however, both the people and the patriarch, going down there, and coming up thence, were together completing the type of this His return. Thus, as they went down to avoid death by famine, so He death by conspiracy. But whereas they on their arrival were for the time delivered from the famine, this man, when He had gone down, sanctified the whole land, by setting His foot thereon.

John Chrysostom
Homilies on Matthew
Homily 8; Matthew 2:2