Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
Today, June 29, is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles. While the Christian church today recognizes that they may not have died on the same day, both Peter and Paul were imprisoned (Acts 12:1-11), both wrote Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16), both opposed the world – and sometimes each other (Galatians 2:11-16) – but all that the truth of the Gospel might be preserved for us (Galatians 2:5).
This post is just one of many devoted to the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are largely neglected today unless it falls on a Sunday. I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this day.
“The festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is probably the oldest of the saints’ observances (dating from about the middle of the third century). An early tradition held that these two pillars of the New Testament Church were martyred on the same day in Rome during the persecution under Nero. In addition to this joint commemoration of their deaths, both apostles are commemorated separately: Peter on January 18 for his confession of Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:13-16) and Paul on January 25 for his conversion (Acts 9:1-19).
“The New Testament tells us much about both apostles. Peter was with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry and served as a leader among the disciples. Despite his steadfast faith, Scripture also records some of his failures, such as his rebuke of Jesus (Matthew 16:21-23) and his threefold denial of his Lord (Matthew 26:69-75). Following Jesus’ ascension, Peter continued as a leader in the Church (Acts 1:15; 2:14; 15:7).
“Paul, a devout Jew also known as Saul, entered the scene as a persecutor of the Church. Following his miraculous conversion, in which the risen Christ Himself appeared to him, Paul became a powerful preacher of the grace of God. During his three missionary journeys (Acts 13–14; 16–18; 18–21), Paul traveled throughout modern-day Turkey and Greece. The New Testament account of his life ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:16), though tradition holds that he went on to Spain before returning to Rome.” 1
The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia. On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Alleluia.” It is from Matthew 16:18b. The focus for your devotion this day is that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
First Reading: Acts 15:1-21
Psalm: Psalm 46 (antiphon v. 11)
Epistle: Galatians 2:1-10
Holy Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
The hymn appointed for this day is “Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head” as found on page 647 in the Lutheran Service Book. You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6OU-4swg44
Collect of the Day:
Merciful and eternal God, Your holy apostles Peter and Paul received grace and strength to lay down their lives for the sake of Your Son. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may confess Your truth and at all times be ready to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us; even Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Pastor Jim Tuell
1 Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, p, 476.