Friday, June 4, 2010

Obedience Begins with Hearing

In the Orthodox Church we often refer to “hearing the Gospel” rather than just reading it, especially in the context of Liturgy. One basic reason is that we must first hear the word of God before we can obey the Word of God. Saint Paul says, “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10.14,17) Even the word “obey” (υπακοή in Greek) is derived from “listen” (ακούω in Greek) leading us to this see the connection between listening and obeying.

In the Gospel of Matthew we hear Christ calling His first Apostles: “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4.19-20) Peter and Andrew were not only brothers; they were also followers of Saint John the Baptist who had taught them the Lord was coming. The Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1.29-30)

The first Apostles heard about Jesus from John the Baptist and were fully prepared to obey Jesus Christ when He called to them. We now have heard the same call from Christ to follow Him. Are we ready to obey?

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