During Bible Study this week, we spent a majority of our time on the Epistle Reading for Sunday (1 Timothy 1:15-17) Our discussion began with a recognition of verse 15 as the source for the communion prayer:
I believe and confess, Lord, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first.
It was also noted that verse 17 sounded familiar:
To the King of Ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory to the ages of ages. Amen.
Thus, we took a look at the Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom to compare:
It is proper and right to sing to You, bless You, praise You, thank You and worship You in all places of Your dominion; for You are God ineffable, beyond comprehension, invisible, beyond understanding, existing forever and always the same; You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit.
Note that both use apophatic language (declaring what God is not, rather than what God is — because God cannot be contained by language). Also, note that though Chrysostom’s declaration is longer, it doesn’t change the basic truth of St. Paul’s words. Rather, Chrysostom clarifies — these attributes of the Father are also the attributes of the Son and the Holy Spirit because they are the only God.
Someone then asked the question of whether or not this understanding of God as Trinity could be seen in the OT. We discussed the opening lines of Genesis:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (1:1-3)
God the Father is present — He is the one who speaks. The Son is present because He is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is present because He is hovering over the face of the waters.
We also took a look at the burning bush when God revealed His name to Moses. Again, the Father is the one who speaks. The Son is present as the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is the unconsuming fire. In addition, the name of God revealed to Moses can be seen in its Greek translation in the halo of Christ in most icons depicting our Lord, God and Saviour:
It was then noted that this understanding of Christ as God is present it the Gospel Reading (Luke 18:35-43). When the blind man at Jericho cries out “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he is acknowledging Christ as God. Not only is He calling Him by a proper title (the Son of David) but he is attributing Him with the power of God to have mercy. This faith is then put on display when, prompted by Christ, he asks for His sight.
Finally, it was noted how the blind man continued to cry out (even all the more) in the face of rebukes.We should all aspire to have such a faith.