Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Polycarp (69-155)

Polycarp Speaks
As a young man Polycarp was  a disciple and personal companion of John the beloved and was probably ordained bishop of Smyrna by John.  If the term "The angel of the church" in Revelation was referring to the bishops appointed to those churches then the "angel of the church at Smyrna" would have been none other than Polycarp himself.  (See Revelation 1:20-2:8)  Polycarp lived to be about 87 years old and was martyred around 155 AD.  We have one document written by Polycarp His Letter to the Phillipians.

"Polycarp declared, 'Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me injury. How can I blaspheme my King and Savior?" ( Martyrdom of Polycarp 9 c. AD 156)

But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who "raised Him from the dead (Letter to the Philippians)

I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord.  (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter I) 

 But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness; "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing," or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing ( Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II)  

Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him.  Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him.  For He has set us this example in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.   (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 8)
 I am deeply grieved, therefore, brethren, for him (Valens) and his wife; to whom may the Lord grant true repentance! And be ye then moderate in regard to this matter, and “do not count such as enemies,” but call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves. (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 11)
 From the Apostolic Fathers edited by Jack N Sparks Letter to the Philippians translated by William Schodeal

read the living water ancient well bio of Polycarp

graphic: Saint Polycarp,   Michael Burghers (1650-1721)

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