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Chrysostom (347-407) on the Death of Christ

June 9, 2009

Chrysostom:

Sins of “the Many” as opposed to all:

Ver. 28. “So Christ was once offered.” By whom offered? evidently by Himself. Here he says that He is not Priest only, but Victim also, and what is sacrificed. On this account are [the words] “was offered.” “Was once offered” (he says) “to bear the sins of many.” Why “of many,” and not “of all”? Because not all believed. For He died indeed for all, that is His part: for that death was a counterbalance against the destruction of all men. But He did not bear the sins of all men, because they were not willing. And what is [the meaning of] “He bare the sins”? Just as in the Oblation we bear up our sins and say, “Whether we have sinned voluntarily or involuntarily, do Thou forgive,” that is, we make mention of them first, and then ask for their forgiveness. So also was it done here. Where has Christ done this? Hear Himself saying, “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself.” (John xvii.19.) Lo! He bore the sins. He took them from men, and bore them to the Father; not that He might determine anything against them [mankind], but that He might forgive them. “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear” (he says) “the second time without sin unto salvation.” What is “without sin”? it is as much as to say, He sinneth not. For neither did He die as owing the debt of death, nor yet because of sin. But how “shall He appear”? To punish, you say. He did not however say this, but what was cheering; “shall He appear unto them that look for Him, without sin unto salvation.” So that for the time to come they no longer need sacrifices to save themselves, but to do this by deeds. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:447-448.

Sins of the world:

1) 2. On this account I trust that there may be a good hope; for God will not disdain to look upon such earnestness and zeal, nor will He suffer his servant to return without success. I know that when he has barely seen our pious Emperor, and been seen by him, he will be able at once by his very countenance to allay his wrath. For not only the words of the saints, but their very countenances are full of grace. And he is a person too endowed with abundant wisdom; and being well skilled in the divine laws, he will say to him as Moses said to God, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin;—and if not, slay me together with them.” For such are the bowels of the saints, that they think death with their children sweeter than life without them. He will also make the special season his advocate and shelter himself behind the sacred festival of the Passover; and will remind the Emperor of the season when Christ remitted the sins of the whole world. He will exhort him to imitate his Lord. He will also remind him of that parable of the ten thousand talents, and the hundred pence. I know the boldness of our father, that he will not hesitate to alarm him from the parable, and to say, “Take heed lest thou also hear it said in that day, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me; you ought also to forgive thy fellow-servants!’ Thou dost

to thyself a greater benefit than them, since by pardoning these few offences thou gainest an amnesty for greater.” To this address he will add that prayer, which those who initiated him into the sacred mystery taught him to offer up, and say, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Chrysostom, “On the Priesthood; Ascetic Treatises; Select Homilies and Letters; Homilies on the Statutes,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 9:355.

2) For this cause, let me add, John also by way of anticipation said all that he had said before, that he “was not worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoe;” and all the rest, as for instance, that He is Judge, and rewards every man according to his desert, and that He will bestow His Spirit abundantly on all; in order that when thou shouldest see Him coming to the baptism, thou mightest not suspect anything mean. Therefore he forbids Him, even when He was come, saying, “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me.” For, because the baptism was “of repentance,” and led men to accuse themselves for their offenses, lest any one should suppose that He too “cometh to Jordan” in this sort of mind, John sets it right beforehand, by calling Him both Lamb, and Redeemer from all the sin that is in the world. Since He that was able to take away the sins of the whole race of men, much more was He Himself without sin. For this cause then he said not, “Behold, He that is without sin,” but what was much more, He “that beareth the sin of the world,” in order that together with this truth thou mightest receive that other with all assurance, and having received it mightest perceive, that in the conduct of some further economy He cometh to the baptism. Wherefore also he said to Him when He came, “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” Chrysostom, ‘Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:72.

3) And how were they not confounded at hearing this? Because He had before told unto them many and great things touching this. Wherefore that He establishes no more, for they had heard it sufficiently, but he speaks of the cause of His passion, namely, the taking away of sins. And He calls it blood of a New Testament, that of the undertaking, the promise, the new law. For this He undertook also of old, and this comprises the Testament that is in the new law. And like as the Old Testament had sheep and bullocks, so this has the Lord’s blood. Hence also He shows that He is soon to die, wherefore also He made mention of a Testament, and He reminds them also of the former Testament, for that also was dedicated with blood. And again He tells the cause of His death, “which is shed for many for the remission of sins;” and He saith, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Seest thou how He removes and draws them off from Jewish customs. For like as ye did that, He saith, in remembrance of the miracles in Egypt, so do this likewise in remembrance of me. That was shed for the preservation of the firstborn, this for the remission of the sins of the whole world. For, “This,” saith He, “is my blood, which is shed for the remission of sins.” Chrysostom, ‘Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:472-473.

4) And this also confirms the former topics, for that which is buried is doubtless a body. And here he no longer adds, “according to the Scriptures.” He had wherewithal, nevertheless he adds it not. For what cause? Either because the burial was evident unto all, both then and now, or because the expression, “according to the Scriptures,” is set down of both in common. Wherefore then doth he add, “according to the Scriptures,” in this place, “and that He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures,” and is not content with the former clause, so spoken in common? Because this also was to most men obscure: wherefore here again he brings in “the Scriptures” by inspiration, having so conceived this thought so wise and divine. How is it then that he doth the same in regard of His death? Because in that case too, although the cross was evident unto all and in the sight of all He was stretched upon it; yet the cause was no longer equally so. The fact indeed of his death all knew, but that He suffered this for the sins of the world was no longer equally known to the multitude. Wherefore he brings in the testimony from the Scriptures.

This however hath been sufficiently proved by what we have said. But where have the Scriptures said that He was buried, and on the third day shall rise again? By the type of Jonah which also Himself alleges, saying, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall also the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt. xii. 40.) By the bush in the desert. For even as that burned, yet was not consumed, (Exod. iii. 2.) so also that body died indeed, but was not holden of death continually. And the dragon also in Daniel shadows out this. For as the dragon having taken the food which the prophet gave, burst asunder in the midst; even so Hades having swallowed down that Body, was rent asunder, the Body of itself cutting asunder its womb and rising again. Chrysostem, “Homilies on the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 12:228-229.

5) These things were done in Bethany beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

[1.] A GREAT virtue is boldness and freedom of speech, and the making all things second in importance to the confessing of Christ; so great and admirable, that the Only-begotten Son of God proclaims such an one in the presence of the Father. ( Luke xii. 8.) Yet the recompense is more than just, for thou confessest upon earth, He in heaven, thou in the presence of men, He before the Father and all the angels. Such an one was John, who regarded not the multitude, nor opinion, nor anything else belonging to men, but trod all this beneath his feet, and proclaimed to all with becoming freedom the things respecting Christ. And therefore the Evangelist marks the very place, to show the boldness of the loud-voiced herald. For it was not in a house, not in a corner, not in the wilderness, but in the midst of the multitude, after that he had occupied Jordan, when all that were baptized by him were present, (for the Jews came upon him as he was baptizing,) there it was that he proclaimed aloud that wonderful confession concerning Christ, full of those sublime and great and mysterious doctrines, and that he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoe. Wherefore he saith, “These things were done in Bethany,” or, as all the more correct copies have it, “in Bethabara.” For Bethany was not “beyond Jordan,” nor bordering on the wilderness, but somewhere nigh to Jerusalem. He marks the places also for another reason. Since he was not about to relate matters of old date, but such as had come to pass but a little time before, he makes those who were present and had beheld, witnesses of his words, and supplies proof from the places themselves. For confident that nothing was added by himself to what was said, but that he simply and with truth described things as they were, he draws a testimony from the places, which, as I said, would be no common demonstration of his veracity. “The next day he seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The Evangelists distributed the periods amongst them; and Matthew having cut short his notice of the time before John the Baptist was bound, hastens to that which follows, while the Evangelist John not only does not cut short this period, but dwells most on it. Matthew, after the return of Jesus from the wilderness, saying nothing of the intermediate circumstances, as what John spake, and what the Jews sent and said, and having cut short all the rest, passes immediately to the prison. “For,” saith he, “Jesus having heard” that John was betrayed, “departed thence.” {Matt. xiv. 13.) But John does not so. He is silent as to the journey into the wilderness, as having been described by Matthew; but he relates what followed the descent from the mountain, and after having gone through many circumstances, adds, “For John was not yet cast into prison.” (c. iii. 24 .) And wherefore, says one, does Jesus now come to him? why does he come not merely once, but this second time also? For Matthew says that His coming was necessary on account of Baptism: since Jesus adds, that “thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. iii. 15.) But John says that He came again after Baptism, and declares it in this place, for, “I saw,” saith he, “the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and It abode upon Him.” Wherefore then did He come to John? for He came not casually, but went expressly to him. “John,” saith the Evangelist, “seeth Jesus coming unto him.” Then wherefore cometh He? In order that since John had baptized Him with many (others), no one might suppose that He had hastened to John for the same reason as the rest to confess sins, and to wash in the river unto repentance. For this He comes, to give John an opportunity of setting this opinion right again, for by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world,” he removes the whole suspicion. For very plain it is that One so pure as to be able to wash away the sins of others, does not come to confess sins, but to give opportunity to that marvelous herald to impress what he had said more definitely on those who had heard his former words, and to add others besides. The word “Behold” is used, because many had been seeking Him by reason of what had been said, and for a long time. For this cause, pointing Him out when present, he said, “Behold,” this is He so long sought, this is “the Lamb.” He calls Him “Lamb,” to remind the Jews of the prophecy of Isaiah, and of the shadow under the law of Moses, that he may the better lead them from the type to the reality. That Lamb of Moses took not at once away the sin of any one; but this took away the sin of all the world; for when it was in danger of perishing, He quickly delivered it from the wrath of God. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:57-58.

6) Ver. 30. “This is He of whom I said, He that cometh after me is preferred before me.” [2.] Seest thou here also how he interprets the word “before”? for having called Him “Lamb,” and that He “taketh away the sin of the world,” then he saith that “He is preferred before me, for He was before me”; declaring that this is the “before,” the taking upon Him the sins of the world, “and the baptizing with the Holy Ghost.” “For my coming had no farther object than to proclaim the common Benefactor of the world, and to afford the baptism of water; but His was to cleanse all men, and to give them the power of the Comforter.” “He is preferred before me,” that is to say, has appeared brighter than I, because “He was before me.” Let those who have admitted the madness of Paul of Samosata be ashamed when they withstand so manifest a truth…

Seest thou that this was the work of the Spirit, to point out Christ? The testimony of John was indeed not to be suspected, but wishing to make it yet more credible, he leads it up to God and the Holy Spirit. For when John had testified to a thing so great and wonderful, so fit to astonish all his hearers, that He alone took on Him the sins of all the world, and that the greatness of the gift sufficed for so great a ransom, afterwards he proves this assertion. And the proof is that He is the Son of God, and that He needed not baptism, and that the object of the descent of the Spirit was only to make Him known. For it was not in the power of John to give the Spirit, as those who were baptized by him show when they say, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” (Acts xix. 2.) In truth, Christ needed not baptism, neither his nor any other; but rather baptism needed the power of Christ. For that which was wanting was the crowning blessing of all, that he who was baptized should be deemed worthy of the Spirit; this free gift then of the Spirit He added when He came. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:58-59.

7) Ver. 24. “I said therefore unto you that…if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”

For if He came to take away the sin of the world, and if it is impossible for men to put that off in any other way except by the washing, it needs must be that he that believeth not must depart hence, having the old man; since he that will not by faith slay and bury that old man, shall die in him, and shall go away to that place to suffer the punishment of His former sins. Wherefore He said, “He that believeth not is judged already” (c. iii. 18 ); not merely through his not believing, but because he de parteth parteth hence having his former sins upon him. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:188-189.

Lamb of God references (sample):

1) And mark again how he rouses the hearer, by putting that first which was to take place after all. For the Lamb was to be slain, and sin to be blotted out, and the enmity to be destroyed, and the burial to take place, and the resurrection, and then the Spirit to come. But none of these things doth he mention as yet, but that first which was last, and for the sake of which all the former were done, and which was fittest to proclaim His dignity; so that when the hearer should be told that he was to receive so great a Spirit he might search with himself, how and in what manner this shall be, while sin so prevails; that finding him full of thought and prepared for that lesson, he might thereupon introduce what he had to say touching the Passion, no man being any more offended, under the expectation of such a gift. Wherefore he again cried out, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which beareth the sin of the world.”He did not say, “which remitteth,” but, that which implies a more guardian care, “which heareth it.” For it is not all one, simply to remit, and to take it upon Himself. For the one was to be done without peril, the other with death. Chrysostom, ‘Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:68.

2) “And wherefore,” it may be said, “did he not mention the signs and wonders which were straightway to be done by Him?” Because this was greater than all, and for its sake all those were done. Thus, in his mention of the chief thing, he comprehended all; death dissolved, sins abolished, the curse blotted out, those long wars done away; our entrance into paradise, our ascent into heaven, our citizenship with the angels, our partaking of the good things to come: for in truth this is the earnest of them all. So that in mentioning this, he hath mentioned also the resurrection of our bodies, and the manifestation of His miracles here, and our partaking of His kingdom, and the good things, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.” For all these things He bestowed on us by that gift. It was therefore superfluous to speak of the signs that were immediately to ensue, and which sight can judge of; but those were meet to be discoursed on, whereof they doubted; as for instance, that He is the Son of God; that He exceeds John beyond comparison; that He “beareth the sin of the world;” that He will require an account of all that we do; that our interests are not limited to the present, but elsewhere every one will undergo the due penalty. For these things were not as yet proveable by sight. Chrysostom, ‘Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:70-71.

3) But mark, I pray thee, how great a multitude of persons healed the evangelists pass quickly over, not mentioning one by one, and giving us an account of them, but in one word traversing an unspeakable sea of miracles. Then lest the greatness of the wonder should drive us again to unbelief, that even so great a people and their various diseases should be delivered and healed by Him in one moment of time, He brings in the prophet also to bear witness to what is going on: indicating the abundance of the proof we have, in every case, out of the Scriptures; such, that from the miracles themselves we have no more; and He saith, that Esaias also spake of these things; “He took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” He said not, “He did them away,” but “He took and bare them;” which seems to me to be spoken rather of sins, by the prophet, in harmony with John, where he saith, “Behold the Lamb of God, that beareth the sin of the world.”

How then doth the evangelist here apply it to diseases? Either as rehearsing the passage in the historical sense, or to show that most of our diseases arise from sins of the soul. For if the sum of all, death itself, hath its root and foundation from sin, much more the majority of our diseases also: since our very capability of suffering did itself originate there. Chrysostom, ‘Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:181.

4) Thus everywhere His will is to offer proofs clear and indisputable; as when He saith, “Go thy way, show thyself to the priest;” and when He points to Peter’s wife’s mother ministering, and permits the swine to cast themselves down headlong. And in the same manner here also; first, for a certain token of the forgiveness of his sins, He provides the giving tone to his body: and of that again, his carrying his bed; to hinder the fact from being thought a mere fancy. And He doeth not this, before He had asked them a question. “For whether is easier,” saith He, “to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee? or to say, Take up thy bed, and go unto thine house?” Now what He saith is like this, “Which seems to you easier, to bind up a disorganized body, or to undo the sins of a soul? It is quite manifest; to bind up a body. For by how much a soul is better than a body, by so much is the doing away sins a greater work than this; but because the one is unseen, the other in sight, I throw in that, which although an inferior thing, is yet more open to sense; that the greater also and the unseen may thereby receive its proof;” thus by His works anticipating even now the revelation of what had been said by John, that “He taketh away the sins of the world.” Chrysostom, ‘Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:193.

5) The Prophets and Apostles then all preached Him absent; the Prophets before His coming according to the flesh, the Apostles after He was taken up; John alone proclaimed Him present. Wherefore he calls himself the “friend of the Bridegroom” (c. iii. 29 ), since he alone was present at the marriage, he it was that did and accomplished all, he made a beginning of the work. And “looking upon Jesus walking, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God.” Not by voice alone, but with his eyes also he bore witness to, and expressed his admiration of, Christ, rejoicing and glorying. Nor does he for awhile address any word of exhortation to his followers, but only shows wonder and astonishment at Him who was present, and declares to all the Gift which He came to give, and the manner of purification. For “the Lamb” declares both these things. And he said not, “Who shall take,” or “Who hath taken”; but, “Who taketh away the sins of the world”; because this He ever doth. He took them not then only when He suffered, but from that time even to the present doth He take them away, not being repeatedly crucified, (for He offered One Sacrifice for sins,) but by that One continually purging them. As then THE WORD shows us His pre-eminence, and THE SON His superiority in comparison with others, so “The Lamb, The Christ, that Prophet, the True Light, the Good Shepherd,” and whatever other names are applied to Him with the addition of the article, mark a great difference. For there were many “Lambs,” and “Prophets,” and “Christs,” and “sons,” but from all these John separates Him by a wide interval. And this he secured not by the article only, but by the addition of “Only-Begotten”; for He had nothing in common with the creation. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:62-63.

Christ bore the sin of all:

1) Why said he not, of the world, instead of “the people”? for He bare away the sins of all. Because thus far his discourse was concerning them [the Hebrews]. Since the Angel also said to Joseph, “Thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people.” (Matt. i. 21.) For this too ought to have taken place first, and for this purpose He came, to save them and then through them the rest, although the contrary came to pass. This also the Apostles said at the first, “To you [God] having raised up His Son, sent [Him] to bless you” (Acts iii. 26 ): and again, “To you was the word of this Salvation sent.” (Acts xiii. 26.) Here he shows the noble birth of the Jews, in saying, “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” For a while he speaks in this way. For that it is He who forgives the sins of all men, He declared both in the case of the paralytic, saying, “Thy sins are forgiven” (Mark ii. 5 ); and also in that of Baptism: for He says to the disciples, “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. xxviii. 19.) Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:389.

A brother perishing for whom Christ died:

1) Ver. 15. “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably.”

You see how far, for the present, he goes in affection for him, showing that he makes so great account of him, that with a view not to grieve him he does not venture even to enjoin things of great urgency, but by yieldingness would rather draw him to himself, and by charity. For even when he has freed him of his fears, he does not drag him and force him, but leaves him his own master. For keeping a person from meats is no such matter as overwhelming with grief. You see how much he insists upon charity. And this is because he is aware that it can do everything. And on this ground he makes somewhat larger demand upon them. For so far he says from its being proper for them to distress you at all, they ought even, if need be, not to hesitate at condescending to you. Whence he proceeds to say, “Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” Or dost thou not value thy brother enough even to purchase his salvation at the price of abstinence from meats? And yet Christ refused not to become a slave, nor yet to die for him; but thou dost not despise even food, that thou mayest save him. And yet with it all Christ was not to gain all, yet still He died for all; so fulfilling His own part. But art thou aware that by meat thou art overthrowing him in the more important matters, and yet makest a disputing? And him who is the object of such care unto Christ, dost thou consider so contemptible, and dishonor one whom He loveth? Yet He died not for the weak only, but even for an enemy. And wilt not thou refrain from meats even, for him that is weak? Yet Christ did what was greatest even, but thou not even the less. And He was Master, thou a brother. These words then were enough to tongue-tie him. For they show him to be of a little spirit, and after having the benefit of great things from God, not to give in return even little ones. Chrysostem, “Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 11:529-530.

2) Ver. 11. “And through thy meat he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died.”

For there are two things which deprive you of excuse in this mischief; one, that he is weak, the other, that he is thy brother: rather, I should say, there is a third also, and one more terrible than all. What then is this? That whereas Christ refused not even to die for him, thou canst not bear even to accommodate thyself to him. By these means, you see, he reminds the perfect man also, what he too was before, and that for him He died. And he said not, “For whom even to die was thy duty;” but what is much stronger, that even Christ died for his sake. “Did thy Lord then not refuse to die for him, and dost thou so make him of none account as not even to abstain from a polluted table for his sake? Yea, dost thou permit him to perish, after the salvation so wrought, and, what is still more grievous, ‘for a morsel of meat?’ “For he said not, “for thy perfectness,” nor “for thy knowledge,” but “for thy meat.” So that the charges are four, and these extremely heavy: that it was a brother, that he was weak, and one of whom Christ made so much account as even to die for him, and that after all this for a “morsel of meat” he is destroyed. Chrysostem, “Homilies on the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 12:116.

Died for all:

1) Ver. 14. “For the love of God constraineth us, because we thus judge.”

‘For not the fear of things to come only,’ he saith, ‘but also those which have already happened allow us not to be slothful nor to slumber; but stir us up and impel us to these our labors on your behalf.’ And what are those things which have already happened? “That if one died for all, then all died.” ‘Surely then it was because all were lost,’ saith he. For except all were dead, He had not died for all. For here the opportunities of salvation exist; but there are found no longer. Therefore, he says, “The love of God constraineth us,” and allows us not to be at rest. For it cometh of extreme wretchedness and is worse than hell itself, that when He hath set forth an act so mighty, any should be found after so great an instance of His provident care reaping no benefit. For great was the excess of that love, both to die for a world of such extent, and dying for it when in such a state.

Ver. 15. “That they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who for their sakes died and rose again.”

If therefore we ought not to live unto ourselves, ‘be not troubled,’ says he, ‘nor be confounded when dangers and deaths assail you.’ And he assigns besides an indubitable argument by which he shows that the thing is a debt. For if through Him we live who were dead; to Him we ought to live through Whom we live. And what is said appears indeed to be one thing, but if any one accurately examine it, it is two: one that we live by Him, another that He died for us: either of which even by itself is enough to make us liable; but when even both are united consider how great the debt is. Yea, rather, there are three things here. For the First-fruits also for thy sake He raised up, and led up to heaven: wherefore also he added, “Who for our sakes died and rose again.” Chrysostem, “Homilies on the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 12:331-332.

2) “When thou prayest,” saith Christ, “thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. vi. 5, 6.) What then says Paul? “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” This is not contrary to the other, God forbid, but quite in harmony with it. But how, and in what way? We must first consider what means, “enter into thy closet,” and why Christ commands this, if we are to pray in every place? or whether we may not pray in the church, nor in any other part of the house, but the closet? What then means that saying? Christ is recommending us to avoid ostentation, when He bids us offer our prayers not only privately, but secretly. For, when He says, “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matt. vi. 3.), it is not the hands that He considers, but He is bidding them use the utmost caution against ostentation: and He is doing the like here; He did not limit prayer to one place, but required one thing alone, the absence of vainglory. The object of Paul is to distinguish the Christian from the Jewish prayers, therefore observe what he says: “In every place lifting up holy hands,” which was not permitted the Jews, for they were not allowed to approach God, to sacrifice and perform their services, elsewhere, but assembling from all parts of the world in one place, they were bound to perform all their worship in the temple. In opposition to this he introduces his precept, and freeing them from this necessity, he says in effect, Our ways are not like the Jewish; for as Christ commanded us to pray for all men because He died for all men, and I preach these things for all men, so it is good to “pray everywhere.” Henceforth the consideration is not of the place but of the manner of the prayer; “pray everywhere,” but “everywhere lift up holy hands.” That is the thing required. And what is “holy”?1185 Pure. And what is pure? Not washed with water, but free from covetousness, murder, rapacity, violence, “without wrath and doubting.” What means this? Who is angry when he prays? It means, without bearing malice. Let the mind of him that prays be pure, freed from all passion. Let no one approach God in enmity, or in an unamiable temper, or with “doubting.” What is “without doubting”? Let us hear. It implies that we should have no misgiving but that we shall be heard. For it is said, “whatever ye ask believing ye shall receive.” (Matt. xxi. 22.) And again, “when ye stand praying forgive, if ye have aught against any one.” (Mark xi. 25.) This is to pray without wrath and doubting. But how can I believe that I shall obtain my request? By asking nothing opposed to that which He is ready to grant, nothing unworthy of the great King, nothing worldly, but all spiritual blessings; if you approach Him “without wrath,” having pure hands, “holy hands”: hands employed in almsgiving are holy. Approach Him thus, and you will certainly obtain your request. “For if ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matt. vii. 11.) By doubting he means misgiving. In like manner he says, I will that women approach God without wrath and doubting, lifting up holy hands: that they should not follow their own desires, nor be covetous or rapacious. For what if a woman does not rob or steal herself, but does it through means of her husband? Paul however requires something more of women, that they adorn themselves “in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair or gold or pearls or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” But what is this “modest apparel”? Such attire as covers them completely, and decently, not with superfluous ornaments, for the one is becoming, the other is not. “Homlies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 13:432-433.

3) Again, he reminds them of the Cross, thereby effecting two things; both showing His care [for them] and persuading them to bear all things nobly, looking to the Master. For (he would say) if He who is worshiped of Angels, for thy sake endured to have a little less than the Angels, much more oughtest thou who art inferior to the Angels, to bear all things for His sake. Then he shows that the Cross is “glory and honor,” as He Himself also always calls it, saying, “That the Son of Man might be glorified” ( John xi. 5 ); and, “the Son of Man is glorified.” ( John xii. 23.) If then He calls the [sufferings] for His servants’ sake “glory,” much more shouldest thou the [sufferings] for the Lord.

Seest thou the fruit of the Cross, how great it is? fear not the matter: for it seemeth to thee indeed to be dismal, but it brings forth good things innumerable. From these considerations he shows the benefit of trial. Then he says, “That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” “That by the grace of God,” he says. And He indeed because of the grace of God towards us suffered these things. “He who spared not His Own Son,” he says, “but delivered Him up for us all.” ( Rom. viii. 32.) Why? He did not owe us this, but has done it of grace. And again in the Epistle to the Romans he says, “Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” ( Rom. v. 15.)

“That by the grace of God He should taste death for every man,” not for the faithful only, but even for the whole world: for He indeed died for all; But what if all have not believed? He hath fulfilled His own [part].

Moreover he said rightly “taste death for every man,” he did not say “die.” For as if He really was tasting it, when He had spent a little time therein, He immediately arose. By saying then “for the suffering of death,” he signified real death, and by saying “superior to angels,” he declared the resurrection. For as a physician though not needing to taste the food prepared for the sick man, yet in his care for him tastes first himself, that he may persuade the sick man with confidence to venture on the food, so since all men were afraid of death, in persuading them to take courage against death, He tasted it also Himself though He needed not. “For,” He says, “the prince of this world cometh and findeth nothing in Me.” ( John xiv. 30.) So both the words “by grace” and “should taste death for every man,” establish this.

[4.] Ver. 10. “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” He speaks here of the Father. Seest thou how again he applies the [expression] “by whom”to Him? Which he would not have done, had it been [an expression] of inferiority, and only applicable to the Son. And what he says is this:—He has done what is worthy of His love towards mankind, in showing His First-born to be more glorious than all, and in setting Him forth as an example to the others, like some noble wrestler that surpasses the rest. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistles to the Hebrews,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:383-384

Price for all:

5. This I think it right that you who are about to be initiated should learn. For this word is a covenant with the Master. And just as we, when we buy slaves, first ask those who are being sold if they are willing to be our servants: So also does Christ. When He is about to receive thee into service, He first asks if thou wishest to leave that cruel and relentless tyrant, and He receives covenants from thee. For his service is not forced upon thee. And see the lovingkindness of God. For we, before we put down the price, ask those who are being sold, and when we have learned that they are willing, then we put down the price. But Christ not so, but He even put down the price for us all; his precious blood. For, He says, ye were bought with a price. Notwithstanding, not even then does He compel those who are unwilling, to serve him; but except thou hast grace, He says, and of thine own accord and will determinest to enroll thyself under my rule, I do not compel, nor force thee. And we should not have chosen to buy wicked slaves. But if we should at any time have so chosen, we buy them with a perverted choice, and put down a corresponding price for them. But Christ, buying ungrateful and lawless slaves, put down the price of a servant of first quality, nay rather much more, and so much greater that neither speech nor thought can set forth its greatness.

For neither giving heaven, nor earth, nor sea, but giving up that which is more valuable than all these, his own blood, thus He bought us. And after all these things, he does not require of us witnesses, or registration, but is content with the single word, if thou sayest it from thy heart. “I renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp,” has included all. Let us then say this, “I renounce thee, Satan,” as men who are about in that world at that day to have that word demanded of them, and let us keep it in order that we may then return this deposit safe. But Satan’s pomps are theatres, and the circus, and all sin, and observance of days, and incantations and omens. Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Mathew,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 10:170.

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