«Moses wrote of Me»

Протоиерей Джон Бэр

Cornelis Cort
Cornelis Cort "The Conversion of St Paul" (1576)
Источник: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Продолжение. Начало: Knowing Christ

First, it means that there is no historical distance at all between those disciples back then and us. We are not at a disadvantage by not “being there” two thousand years ago.

“Being there” did not help the disciples,

and we delude ourselves if we think that we would have known better.

In fact, in so doing, we place ourselves in the category of the demonically possessed,

for they have no trouble recognizing Christ.

By thinking we would have known Christ prior to Pascha, we would also deserve the rebuke given to Peter for having separated Christ from the Cross.


The disciples came to know Christ as the crucified and risen Lord who, himself, opens the scriptures and breaks the bread.

It is exactly this that now happens in the Church.

In the Church, we are still on the road to Emmaus.

In the Church, the scriptures are opened to us, in the readings,

the preaching, the hymnography, the iconography, the liturgical rites, …

and in the midst of all this, bread is broken in the eucharistic offering,

and we become his body.

The conversion of the Apostle Paul provides a vivid example of the approach to scripture used in the Church thereafter. 

He had studied the scriptures as a young man; he had trained in various rabbinic interpretations. Yet he did not “see” Christ in the scriptures,

nor did he recognize Christ in those whom he was persecuting.

In fact, on the basis of his reading of scripture, he regarded himself as “blameless before the law,” and so zealous in his righteousness

that he persecuted the Christians as obvious blasphemers (Phil 3:4-6). 

However, once he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus—

with the directly challenging words,

“Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 22:7-8)

—he began to read the scriptures anew, to see in them how they had always spoken about the Passion of Christ and about our need for salvation.

The text had not changed; his starting point or “first principle” had changed.

Instead of attempting to understand what the text might have originally “meant”, the task now becomes what it “means” today, as addressed to the hearers, presenting Christ knocking at the door of their hearts, wanting to make his abode therein.

This also means that the inspiration of the writers of scripture cannot be separated from the inspired reading of scripture, for both are revealed and enabled only by the act of the Lord, the slain Lamb, opening the book (Rev 5:9)!