Fascination with wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:12

Monday, April 9, 2012

Holy Week Begins- by what authority?

  He was begotten—yet he was already begotten—of a woman. And yet she was a virgin. That it was from a woman makes it human, that she was a virgin makes it divine. On earth he has no father (Matt 1:20), but in heaven no mother (cf. Ps2:7). All this is part of his Godhead. He was carried in the womb (cf. Luke 1:31), but acknowledged by a prophet as yet unborn himself, who leaped for joy at the presence of the Word for whose sake he had been created (Luke 1:41). He was wrapped in swaddling bands (Luke 2:7, 12), but at the Resurrection he un-loosed the swaddling bands of the grave (cf. John 20:6-7). He was laid in a manger (Luke 2:7, 16), but was extolled by angels, disclosed by a star, and adored by Magi ( Matt  2:2, 7, 9-11).  Why do you take offense at what you see, instead of attending to its spiritual significance? He was exiled into Egypt (Matt 2:13-14), but he banished the Egyptian idols.

He had "no form of beauty" (Isa 53:2) for the Jews, but for David he was "fairer than the children of  men" (Ps 45:2), and on the mount he shines forth, be-coming more luminous than the Sun (Matt 17:2), to reveal the future mystery.(20) As a man he was baptized (Matt 3:16), but he absolved sins as God (John 1:29, Matt 9:2); he needed no purifying rites himself—his purpose was to hallow water. As man he was put to the test, but as God he came through victorious (Matt 4:1-11)—yes, he bids us to be of good cheer because he has conquered the world (John 16:33). He hungered (Matt4:2)—yet he fed thousands (Matt 14:20-21). He is indeed "living, heavenly bread" (John 6:51). He thirsted (John 19:28) yet he exclaimed: "Whoso-ever thirsts, let him come to me and drink" (John7:37).

Indeed, he promised that believers would be-come fountains (cf. John 7:38). He was tired (John4:6)—yet he is the "rest" of the weary and the burdened (Matt 11:28). He was overcome by heavy sleep (cf. Matt 8:24)—yet he goes lightly over the sea, rebukes winds, and relieves the drowning Peter (Matt 14:25-32). He pays tax—yet he uses a fish to do it (Matt 17:24-27); indeed, he is emperor over those who demand the tax. He is called a "Samaritan, demonically possessed" (John 8:48)—but he rescues the man who came down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves (cf. Luke 10:30).

Yes, he is recognized by demons (Luke 4:33-34), drives out demons (cf. Matt 8:16), drowns deep a legion of spirits (Mark 5:9), and sees a prince of demons falling like lightning (cf. Luke 10:18). He is stoned, yet not hit (John11:35); he prays, yet he hears prayer (cf. Mark 1:35; Matt 8:13). He weeps (John 11:35), yet he puts anend to weeping (cf. Luke 7:13). He asks where Lazarus is (John 11:34)—he was a man, yet he raisesLazarus (John 11:43-44)—he was God. He is sold, and cheap was the price—thirty pieces of silver (Matt26:15), yet he buys back the world at the mighty cost of his own blood (cf. 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Pet 1:19). A sheep, he is led to the slaughter (Acts 8:32; Isa 53:7)—yet he shepherds Israel (Ps 80:1) and now the whole world as well (cf. John 10:11, 16). A lamb, he is dumb (Isa 53:7)—yet he is "word" (John 1:1), pro-claimed by "the voice of one crying out in the wilderness" (John 1:53). He is weakened, wounded (Isa53:5)—yet he cures every disease and every weakness (Matt 9:35).

He is brought up to the tree (1 Pet2:24) and nailed to it (cf. John 19:17)—yet by the tree of life he restores us (cf. Gen 2:9; Rev 2:7). Yes, he saves even a thief crucified with him (Luke 23:43); he wraps all the visible world in darkness (cf. Matt27:45). He is given vinegar to drink (Matt 27:48), gall to eat (Matt 27:34)—and who is he? Why, one who turned water into wine (John 2:7-9), who took away the taste of bitterness (cf. Exod 15:25), who is all sweetness and desire (Song 5:16). He surrenders his life, yet he has power to take it again (John10:17-18). Yes, the veil is rent, for things of heaven are being revealed, rocks split, and dead men have an earlier awakening (Matt 27:51-52).

He dies (Matt 27:50), but he vivifies (John 5:21) and by death destroys death (2 Tim 1:10). He is buried (Matt 27:60), yet he rises again (John 20:8-9). He goes down to Hades, yet he leads souls up (cf. Eph. 4:8-9), ascends to heaven (Mark 16:19), and will come to judge quick and dead (2 Tim 4:1) and to probe discussions like these. If the first set of expressions starts you going astray, the second takes your error away.

Gregory of Nazianzus- Third Theological Oration (para. 20).

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