The Life of Saint John the Theologian – Chapter 18

The Life and Struggles of the
Holy Apostle and Evangelist
John the Theologian

Chapter 18

Philo the Jew

“In that city, there was a Jew by the name of Philo, who was a learned man and well-versed in the law Moses. He had a wife who was afflicted with leprosy. Once, he chanced upon John in the marketplace and struck up a debate with him concerning the Books of Moses. Whatever John would say he opposed. Philo remained intransigent for two whole days. On the third day, he still persisted, even after many lengthy discussions; so John said to him: ‘Philo, Philo, the holy Scriptures do not require verbosity, but obedience to their teachings and a pure heart.’ As he was so saying, they came upon a man with a fever who had been placed on the ground by his kinfolk, so that John, as he passed by, might heal him. Therefore, as John was leaving Philo, a young man standing by this afflicted man cried out, saying: ‘Teacher of the Christians, I beseech thee, attend to this sick man and heal him!’ John then approached and said: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, arise and go to thy home.’ Straightway, the sick one arose and returned to his house, glorifying God. Now Philo witnessed what John had done, and running up to him, took him by the hand and said: ‘ Teacher, what is love?’ The apostle answered: ‘O observer of the law, God is love and he who hath love hath God!’ Philo continued: ‘Therefore show the love of God and come home with me. Let us eat bread together, that God may be with us.’ Immediately John followed him. As he entered Philo’s house, tht very moment Philo’s wife was cleansed of her leprosy. When the former persistent and contentious Philo beheld this, he changed forthwith, and falling prostrate before the apostle, said: ‘Teacher, be not wroth with me on account of my words when I argued against thy divine teachings, but bestow upon me and thine handmaiden, my wife, the seal of Christ.’ John then catechized them and performed baptism over them, with their whole household, remaining there for three days.

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