Although this is a vespers service, the Bible readings are not just from the Old Testament (which is normally the biblical readings that are chanted when biblical readings are prescribed for vespers). We also read from 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2 and a composite Gospel readings from Matthew and Luke. In the epistle reading, we are reminded that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Indeed, this was shown even as Jesus died on the Cross, for when he died, some of the tombs were opened!
In the Gospel reading for this service, we learn not only of Judas’ fate, but also of the anti-Christian argument popular soon after Jesus death, that his disciples stole his body. In this way, the Gospel serves as a small window into the disputes and divisions amongst the Jews at the time concerning Jesus and “the Way,” as Christianity was initially known (according to the Book of Acts). We also hear of the graciousness and love of God, however, for we encounter the two thieves, just as Psalms 1 and 2 open the Psalms by speaking of the “two ways.” One may either repent and be at the right hand of Christ, or curse, ignore, and/or reject him and find oneself on the left. Yet, here in the Gospel, we are reminded that no matter how long one has been on the “wrong path,” one may yet cross over and take the new path, “the Way” of Christ.