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Begin your meeting with prayer and by reading the excerpt from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans below, followed by St. John Chrysostom’s commentary on the text. Then, discuss the questions about the reading.
Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection . . .
“. . . he [St. Paul] is counselling you when he says, ‘for if we have been planted together in the likeness of His Death, we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection.’ Do you observe, how he rouses the hearer by leading him straightway up to his Master, and taking great pains to show the strong likeness? This is why he does not say ‘in death,’ lest you should gainsay it, but, ‘in the likeness of His Death.’ For our essence itself has not died, but the man of sins, that is, wickedness.
And he does not say, for if we have been partakers of the likeness of His Death; but what? ‘If we have been planted together,’ so, by the mention of planting, giving a hint of the fruit resulting to us from it. For as His Body, by being buried in the earth, brought forth as the fruit of it the salvation of the world; thus ours also, being buried in baptism, bore as fruit righteousness, sanctification, adoption, countless blessings. And it will bear also hereafter the gift of the resurrection. Since then we were buried in water, He in earth, and we in regard to sin, He in regard to His Body, this is why he did not say, ‘we were planted together in His Death,’ but ‘in the likeness of His Death.’ For both the one and the other is death, but not that of the same subject.
If then he says, ‘we have been planted together in His Death, we shall be in that of His Resurrection,’ speaking here of the Resurrection which is to come. For since when he was upon the subject of the Death before, and said, ‘Do you not know, brethren, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His Death?’ he had not made any clear statement about the Resurrection, but only about the way of life after baptism, bidding men walk in newness of life; therefore he here resumes the same subject, and proceeds to foretell to us clearly that Resurrection. And that you may know that he is not speaking of that resulting from baptism, but about the other, after saying, ‘for if we were planted together in the likeness of His Death,’ he does not say that we shall be in the likeness of His Resurrection, but we shall belong to the Resurrection.
For to prevent your saying, and how, if we did not die as He died, are we to rise as He rose? When he mentioned the Death, he did not say, ‘planted together in the Death,’ but, ‘in the likeness of His Death.’ But when he mentioned the Resurrection, he did not say, ‘in the likeness of the Resurrection,’ but we shall be ‘of the Resurrection’ itself. And he does not say, We have been made, but we shall be, by this word again plainly meaning that Resurrection which has not yet taken place, but will hereafter. Then with a view to give credibility to what he says, he points out another Resurrection which is brought about here before that one, that from that which is present you may believe also that which is to come. For after saying, ‘we shall be planted together in the Resurrection,’ he adds, ‘Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.’”
St. John Chrysostom, Homily XI on Romans (section on verse 5)
Important parts are in bold. Read the full homily here.
According to St. Paul and St. John Chrysostom, what is the paradoxical way that we live as if we believe in the Resurrection?
What are some moments when you’ve been afraid to die a little death with Christ? For example, has there been a time when you have been afraid or embarrassed to admit you were Christian, or act in a way reflective of Christ? Why do you think that happened?
St. John says that Paul identifies two Resurrections in Romans: the Resurrection that follows Baptism and the Resurrection of eternal life. Regarding the former, how does dying to the parts of us that are not of Christ through Baptism and Repentance help us to walk in the newness of life?
What is the significance of the word “planted” in St. Paul’s epistle according to St. John’s homily?
Who is someone that you think bears the “fruit” of the Resurrection described by St. John? What is one way you think you can work to emulate that person?
Wrap up your discussion with this prayer from the Sunday Orthros service:
Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one. Your Cross, O Christ, we venerate, and Your holy Resurrection we praise and glorify. For You are our God; apart from You we know no other; we call upon Your name. Come, all faithful, let us venerate the holy Resurrection of Christ; for behold, through the Cross, joy has come to the whole world. Ever blessing the Lord, let us praise His Resurrection; for having endured the Cross for us, He destroyed death by death.