The righteous Job (whose name means “persecuted”), God’s faithful servant, was the perfect image of every virtue. The son of Zarah and Bossorha (Job 42), Job was a fifth-generation descendant of Abraham. He was a truthful, righteous, patient, and pious man who abstained from every evil thing. Job was very rich and blessed by God in all things, as was no other son of Ausis (his country, which lay between Idoumea and Arabia). However, divine condescension permitted him to be tested. Job lost his children, his wealth, his glory, and every consolation all at once. His entire body became a terrible wound covered with boils. Yet he remained steadfast and patient in the face of misfortune for seven years, always giving thanks to God. Later, God restored his former prosperity, and he had twice as much as before. Job lived for 170 years after his misfortune, completing his earthly life in 1350 BC at the age of 240.
When the enemy of the just beheld the treasures of Job’s virtues, he sought to destroy them. He attacked his body but could not touch his spirit, for his pure soul was well armed. As for us, the same enemy stripped us and chained us. Therefore, O Savior, be on our side, protect us against the devil and save us.
O faithful Job, celebrated servant of God, you were a deeply just man and God’s sincere worshiper. You gave the world a stirring lesson by your patience and long-suffering. Therefore, we sing a hymn of praise to your memory and we honor you.
Acts 12: 1-11
In those days King Herod started to harass some of the members of the church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased certain Jews, he took Peter into custody too. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread he had Peter arrested and thrown into prison with four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod intended to bring him before the people after the Passover. Peter was thus detained in prison, while the church prayed fervently to God on his behalf. During the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened in double chains, while guards kept watch at the door. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood nearby and light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. “Hurry, get up!” the angel said. With that, the chains dropped from Peter’s wrists. The angel said, “Put on your belt and your sandals!” This Peter did. Then the angel told him, “Now put on your cloak and follow me.”
Peter followed the angel out, but with no clear realization that this was taking place through the angel’s help. The whole thing seemed to him a mirage. They passed the first guard, then the second, and finally came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them of itself. They emerged and made their way down a narrow alley, when suddenly the angel left him. Peter had recovered his senses by this time, and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s clutches and from all the Jews hoped for.”
John 8: 31-42
The Lord said to the people coming to him: “If you live according to my teachings, you are truly my disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered: “We are descendants of Abraham; never have we been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be free?’”
Jesus answered them: “I give you my assurance, everyone who lives in sin is the slave of sin. No slave has a permanent place in the family, but the son has a place there forever. That is why, if the son frees you, you will really be free. I realize you are of Abraham’s stock. Nonetheless, you are trying to kill me because my word finds no hearing among you. I tell what I have seen in the Father’s presence; you do what you have heard from your father.”
They retorted, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus told them: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be following Abraham’s example. The fact is, you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I have heard from God. Abraham did nothing like that. Indeed you are doing your father’s works!”
They cried, “We are no illegitimate breed! We have but one father and that is God himself.” Jesus answered: “Were God your father you would love me, for I came from God, and here I am.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, May 5 –